CDN Industry
30 Mar 2015

Review of CDN Industry

To make a short review of CDN industry now days, a general definition of CDN and a history
of CDN industry must be indicated first. CDN or Content Delivery Network is a net of video- and web-servers, which help users to get content that they need faster. Technology works due to a geographic spread of CDN servers that store data content depending on users requests. A user, which makes a first request on some concrete content, will wait till data come from the primary server. The others, who will make the same request, will get the data faster because it will come from geographically closest CDN server.

Technology of CDN was born in the middle of nineties, when in 1996 year first patent was
registered. First commercial CDN operator appeared in 1998 year. After this and until the large fall of the shares in 2001 year the CDN industry grew incredibly fast. CNN Television Company became a pioneer of a commercial CDN. CNN worked with many users all over the world, that’s why a problem of slow access to data from geographically remote areas was really urgent. The company decided to store a ‘hard’ content on different servers in many countries to make it closer to final users. Before this precedent happened, it was common to use ‘mirror sites’ – websites with the identical content, located in different countries. When CDN technology arrived, mirror sites were no longer needed.
After a large fall of shares, there were only a few big players in the CDN industry. The second big growth of CDN industry happened in 2005-2006 years. The reason was a growing popularity of YouTube video hosting, which actively uses a CDN technology and based on CDN. Now days CDN industry consist of about a hundred companies that are somehow related with a providing of the CDN technology.

To make a CDN comparison, CDN industry can be divided in three groups: CDN suppliers,
CDN providers and companies that use own CDN for their needs. The first group is the smallest – there is not so many companies, which supply CDN. Among them, there are such big vendors as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Huawei and smaller suppliers as CDNvideo, JetStream, Solbox. CDN providers and companies that use own CDN for their needs are clients of above-mentioned group of companies. First CDN providers mostly were based on a different telecom operators, which is rational because provides the same good quality for users of a different operators. After that, telecom operators also started providing of CDN service; usually they don’t have an expertise in the development of technologies and resell services of independent CDN. Now days there are about fifty CDN companies that declare a global CDN covering and work in different countries; about twenty of them are independent CDN companies and for about thirty – telecom operators. Several amount of CDN companies work just on regional covering. CDN for own needs usually have only a big companies like Google; though some corporate clients create private CDNs for their needs. However, there is a big market of CDN service, whereupon all required for business characteristics should be
identified to make a CDN compare (such characteristics as geographic locating of servers, price and other factors).

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