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Hybrid CDN: Notes from London Streaming Forum

Last week I was one of the speakers at the Streaming Forum in London where we talked about Hybrid CDN.

I would like to share my thoughts about where the streaming is headed.

OTT is getting critical

It is now an undisputable trend that users are moving towards digital services in their entertainment time span. This is a fact that people are watching less linear TV and more on-demand services.

OTT companies stated that their biggest success factor is making sure to match the broadcast quality in their streaming services.

Although I agree this challenge exists, I also think that there are available solutions.

Hybrid CDN is the key

OTT companies, especially the ones with large content, need to move more into Multi CDN structures and load balance based on performance. Most can say that they already do Multi CDN, but my response is maybe not enough.

Couple years ago, Multi CDN strategy meant partnering with 2 or 3 global and well-known CDNs. But now there are new patented technologies enabling, application level, performance-based load balancing possible. Today Multi CDN strategy means adding more than 2-3 CDNs to the mix and let them compete for performance, not only for uptime, in each geography.

After the strong cloud CDN vendors for each geography and a good “Real User” performance-based load balancing is in place, the next step is to integrate aggressive “origin” platforms by partnering with Managed CDN providers.

This solution called Hybrid CDN;
Namely mixing a CDN like strong managed origin platforms with multiple Cloud CDNs.

According to Gartner’s latest report, the biggest challenge for OTT players is still monetization and making money. Gartner also suggests Frugality, i.e. don’t overspend in technology and keep the dollars for the growth of the service itself.

I say this is very true. Most companies, even Netflix, are still losing a huge amount of money and the bottom line is still red.
CDN-like strong origins are not priced based per TB consumed and it adds to the bottom line.

Experience from our large OTT customers like StarzPlay tells us that diverse content base needs customized origin platforms.

Normal CDN structures “designed for popular content” does not make it.

When a large OTT players try to solve their solutions with regular Cloud CDN vendors, they can only aim to “match” the broadcast quality.
But I say they really need to revisit their architecture, achieve the best with a strong Hybrid CDN and focus on adding new digital features better than broadcast.

OTT Companies should also remember that large technology companies can be disrupted as well.
Akamai recently announced that they were laying off about 400 employees from the media division and mostly from the R&D team. This tells me that the visionary OTT companies are now realizing the “brand name” CDN era is being history. You can also read this trend from the industry’s well-known analyst and writer Dan Rayburn.

Now it is the time to https://seekingalpha.com/article/3968638-akamais-cdn-performance-advantage-video-data-provepass the brand name and use smart performance monitoring systems to see who really performs better. One should monitor support levels and make partner selection decision like engineering, with facts, not with perceptions.

Last, the Managed CDN vendor should be fast in service, not only in technology.

Since the challenge is big, when needed, new hardware should be able to add to the origin platform within days, including the acquisition of the hardware.

I know I am biased but I can’t help to mention;
Medianova CDN is 4th fastest SecureCDN in the UK according to 3rd party user-based monitoring company Cedexis. On top of that, Medianova has the highest availability among all well known global CDNs in this competitive region.

Medinova UK CDN Performance based on Cedexis

If you need more data and case studies, please note that we are here to help. You can check www.medianova.com/ott for more information

Happy streaming.

Serkan Sevim, CEO


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