Content-delivery-networkContent-rich sites, streaming media and ubiquitous broadband access have all but revolutionised the way we interact with the internet, both in a personal and professional sense. The demand for reliable, high-quality media at the push of a button is a reality that any Internet Service Provider (ISP) or content provider needs to face in today’s technological climate, and internet architecture will be in a constant state of evolution to ensure that this is  possible with as little financial and operational impact as possible.This automatically highlights the importance of Network Management Software when it comes to Content Distribution Networks.

Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) make it easy for people and businesses around the world to access content from virtually anywhere on the web without having to suffer the consequences of retrieving data from servers on the opposite ends of the planet, such as slow transfer speeds, dropped connections and overcrowded servers. In this blog, we’ll look at what goes into managing a Content Distribution Network, and what any network manager can learn from CDN management.

Following the shortest possible route to the end-user dramatically improves service

With streaming services accounting for an ever-increasing portion of global internet traffic, the ability to provide this content to users around the world in a reliable and consistent way is becoming vital for content providers. And with the viral nature of media-rich content on the internet today, content providers must be adequately equipped for the prospect of millions of users trying to access the same content at the same time. To achieve this, Content Distribution Networks are made up of servers or groups of servers in different sites around the world, and store cached copies of the most commonly requested content on each of these servers. When a user requests the content – a video, for example – the request is sent to the CDN server which then identifies the closest host to the user and streams the content from that location. Should a user request content that isn’t stored in a nearby location, the data is pulled from the CDN server and cached in the closest server to the user to make it easier to access this content in the future.

For large enterprises that operate in countries around the globe, storing cached copies of frequently-used and business-critical content has the potential to increase productivity and efficiency, and ensure higher Return on Investment (ROI) in the process.

Distributed servers mean important data is always backed up

Storing cached copies of content in servers around the globe doesn’t only make retrieving content faster and more reliable, it also means that business-critical data is always backed up and available at a number of locations. Data-loss is an unfortunate reality, even for organisations with the most meticulous backup plans in place, and storing cached content on various servers isn’t fool-proof, but it puts the odds in your favour when it comes to the security of important data. Should one of your servers go down, whether permanently or temporarily, you have the peace of mind that the data still exists in other locations and can be restored once the issue has been rectified.

As we consume increasingly content-rich media in our professional and personal lives, the need for reliable, timely access to this media becomes more pressing, not just on the public internet, but over business intranets and Wide Area Networks (WANs) also. Content Distribution Networks might not be the first place that enterprise network managers expect to find inspiration, but taking some CDN practices into account can make a huge difference to the performance of enterprise networks.

To find out more about how IRIS can help you get the most out of your networking solution, download our Network Manager’s Guide to a Stable and Highly Available Network.

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