Content Delivery Network is one of the proven ways of making your websites faster and more scalable. This post provides a detailed insight into Content Delivery Networks.
What is a Content Delivery Network?
Content Delivery Network is a network optimized to deliver specific content, such as static Web pages, transaction-based Web sites, streaming media, or even real-time video or audio. Its purpose is to quickly give users the most current content in a highly available graphics or streaming video website. The primary objective of the Content Delivery Network is to make your websites perform faster by making use of Caching.
How does a Content Delivery Network Work?
In order to understand how a content delivery network works, i will take up the example of how Akamai serves the content. For those of you who are not aware of Akamai, it is a world leader in Content Delivery Networks.
When an end user makes a request for an object and the request comes over to Akamai ( the site should be CNAMED over to Akamai), caching servers check if the object is available in cache, if yes, it serves the object out of its cache. For those objects which are dynamic in nature like whether the user login was successful or not, the request is forwarded to the origin server. Akamai servers also use an optimal path to reach the origin using their internal algorithms.
However, not all CDN’s are capable of serving dynamic content.
What are some of the major benefits of using Content Delivery Networks?
1.) Reduced Latency : Content Delivery Networks work primarily on the concept of Caching static web content, and spreading it across their network of servers which are strategically located across the geographic locations. So if your webserver is in USA, but your users are coming over to your website from India or Europe or Africa etc… then content delivery networks help by reducing the latency by mapping the end user to a nearest location. Modern CDN’s like Akamai use cheap and simple edge servers and intelligent central CDN management technologies that distribute assets dynamically.Faster load times mean less time spent waiting for content.
2.) High Scalability : This is also another very important benefit of using a Content Delivery Network. In the current scenario, when most of the commerce transactions are moving to the internet domain, it makes sense for websites to be prepared for high traffic scenarios which can occur owing to either online discounts, some kind of competition running over the website etc. However, staying prepared for certain events involve huge costs in terms of infrastructure expansion and maintenance. Content Delivery Networks can prove a handy solution for such situations. As Content Delivery Networks usually comprise of thousands of servers which can balance load and mitigate traffic to other locations in case of heavy load. This allows websites to scale up without having to worry too much about the Infrastructure costs associated with such operations.
3.) High Availability : Owing to huge network traffic, often your website servers can go down resulting in HTTP 5xx Response Codes being served to the end users. This definitely is not the best way to handle incoming traffic into your websites. Distributed content eliminates the impact of heavy traffic or outages in a single area, increasing your Web site availability.
4.) Increased Offload : This is another interesting and major benefit of using a Content Delivery Network. If you use a CDN, most of your static web content is cached on the CDN servers and is served from the cache of the CDN servers till it expires from the cache. This helps you get a better request offload from your origin infrastructure.
Can you please name a few CDN’s?
1.) Akamai Technologies : Akamai is a pioneer and leader in the area of Content Delivery Network. Akamai other than offering usual caching services also provides streaming services and its products like Web Application Accelerator and Dynamic Site Accelerator can help you get acceleration for your dynamic properties as well.
2.) Limelight Networks: Limelight Networks is another CDN which can help you get offload and caching benefits for your website.
You might also be interesting in attending the free webinar hosted by Akamai Technologies on State of the Internet on 17th December.
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Filed under: Technology | Tagged: Accelerator, Account Balance, Akamai, Akamai Technologies, Application Accelerator, Available Graphics, CDN, Content Delivery Network, Content Delivery Networks, Current Content, Dynamic Components, Internal Algorithms, Limelight network, Network Content, Optimal Path, Origin Server, Static Objects, Static Web, Streaming Media, Timeperiod, Video Website, Web Application, World Leader | 1 Comment »