Virtual CDN (vCDN) for optimal CSP video delivery

8th October 2018
Anna Flockett

In the world today there are so many events that may cause a spike in viewership of video content over a carrier network. For example, if people in a sporting arena want to see an instant replay of something they just watched live, or perhaps a video has just gone viral.

Guest blog written by Jeff Gowan.

Whatever the case may be, the ability to deliver video content reliably depends on the flexibility and reliability of the network. Working with Akamai and Wind River provides that reliability and flexibility in a solution that is ready to deploy now. This blog breaks down a few key concepts which are discussed in greater detail in the joint solution brief titled: 'Akamai and Wind River: Flexible vCDN-Based Video Delivery For A Highly Dynamic Audience.'

What happens when I try to watch a video on my phone?
Well, in an inefficient network a whole lot of data travels a long distance and requires provisioning of public and private content delivery network (CDN) servers within a data centre and/or the POP to anticipate demand.

What happens when lots of people try to watch videos on their phones?
In an inefficient environment it’s critical that CDN is provisioned adequately otherwise this can cause additional strain on the network which may result in video feeds getting dropped and even more customers being unsatisfied. Provisioning adequately can be a challenge as it requires anticipating not only what large groups will want to view, but also where and when.  

To ensure demand is met, a service provider might ‘over provision’ which results in higher CAPEX for dedicated equipment that may sit idle much of the time. Deploying a virtual CDN that is elastic and orchestrated can help through engineering traffic optimisations and maximising available hardware (scaling up) dynamically for ‘high-audience’ scenarios. Virtualisation has the advantage of sharing hardware with other functions so the service provider can maximise the efficiency of existing equipment without over provisioning.

What is an example of vCDN?
Aura Licensed CDN (LCDN) is highly scalable carrier grade CDN software that efficiently delivers high quality video or other content using a common HTTP caching infrastructure. Aura LCDN software runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, virtual machines (VMs), or a hybrid thereof. By leveraging distinct software components, Aura LCDN delivers HTTP content in a highly efficient, scalable, and reliable fashion.

What happens when you deploy vCDN on a virtual edge infrastructure?
It depends. If you use an infrastructure designed for the enterprise it can be very costly and runs the risk of not meeting the uptime expected by Telco customers. If you build your own from scratch it can also be costly because it requires you to create and continue maintaining the infrastructure for its lifecycle. If you build your infrastructure starting with open-source software such as Open Stack you can leverage open source code but still need to support it. Both ‘roll your own’ options delay your time to market. Another option is to use Wind River’s Titanium Cloud platform which is available now and leverages open source software while also addressing some of the shortcomings OpenStack has historically faced in the Telco market. This last option, along with being cost effective and fast to deploy, also assures the latency and reliability needed to meet the expectations of telco customers.

What else should I know about CDN?
There is a lot that has to happen to effectively deliver video content to an end user and there are some very specific ways that Akamai and Wind River can collectively improve the experience for the operator and the customer. 

This is why Wind River have put together a joint solution brief titled: Akamai and Wind River: Flexible vCDN-Based Video Delivery For A Highly Dynamic Audience which describes some of the unique benefits delivered by working together.

Courtesy of Wind River.

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