As the consumer appetite for online video content grows, communication service providers (CSPs) find themselves increasingly marginalized in the market. Video content is usually delivered by third-party providers (e.g. companies such as BBC, Hulu, Netflix, CANAL+), which have their own relationships with end users and therefore earn any resulting incremental revenue.
Given marketplace realities, CSPs need to broaden their core businesses beyond merely providing connectivity. They must also offer enhanced digital media delivery. Doing this successfully requires innovative new methods of publishing/storage and caching using next generation content delivery networks (CDNs). These networks enable CSPs to transform themselves into entertainment providers and also allow them to leverage their networks without creating traffic bottlenecks near servers.
Velocix is an Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) company that offers a comprehensive appliance-based CDN solution for CSPs. Richard Gibbs, Vice President of Worldwide Technical and Business Consulting at Velocix highlighted in a recent ALU TechZine article, A New Approach to Publishing and Caching Video, that:
“A CDN is a system of caches containing copies of data…This data is distributed at various points in a network, which maximizes the bandwidth required to access the data from clients throughout the network. A client accesses a copy of the data nearest to the client, as opposed to all clients accessing the same central server.”
He noted that content delivered using a CDN can be downloadable objects like software and documents, as well as applications and real-time media streams.
Velocix advises that when designing a CDN architecture—which differs from internet web-caching services—CSPs must take six key principles into consideration: availability, operation, performance, resilience, security, and efficiency.
These principles should be applied to the main appliance components of a CDN: delivery nodes, storage nodes, origin nodes, and control nodes. Together, these components perform nine processes and functions, summarized below.
Publishing/Storage - process of acquiring or publishing/ingesting content, using pre-ingest, acquire on demand, and live ingesting models.
Authorization and Registration - process that allows content owners to authorize delivery using the CDN.
Ingest – pre-publishing using standard technologies that allow integration with content management systems (e.g. FTP, RSYNC, third-party upload accelerators, batch control scripts, and programmatic HTTP)
Store – replication of ingested content within the CDN.
Availability – notification provided to the content owner, enabling content to be made available within any delivery portal.
Caching – means of replicating and storing content effectively on edge and storage devices without needing to reacquire content from multiple sources.
Acquisition – mechanism for an edge cache to acquire content from a CDN storage node or origin server for delivery.
Replication – means of physically acquiring or replicating content across distributed caching devices.
Caching – It also is a means of reducing network traffic by delivering content from caches as close to the requesting consumer as possible.
The graphic below shows what the Velocix solution looks like from a high level.
As can be seen, it is capable of delivering a high-quality, multi-screen solution. When properly set up and utilized through optimal publishing and caching processes, CDNs maximize accessibility and minimize network traffic. They are integral parts of ALU’s vision of a High Leverage Network than enables CSPs to not just be critical parts of evolving next generation services ecosystems, but also positioned to offer new innovative multiple media services of their own.