Multi CDN vs Managed CDN vs DIY CDN: What To Choose?

When Content Delivery Network first appeared, it was a fantastic breakthrough in enabling web-based content to be delivered for the end-user speedily and efficiently. It has resulted in a superb user experience and has been responsible for the plethora of content-rich websites that load extremely fast irrespective of the location from where it is accessed. Network latency is the typical result of single or local server use. Hence, CDNs have grown in popularity. It utilizes a network of servers to serve the information to the end-user from the server nearest to them, reducing the load on any single server and thus delivering the desired information blazingly fast. 

Today, the internet is getting flooded with abundant forms of web content – multimedia, videos, animations, JavaScript embedding, and more – and consumers of such material are consuming them higher than ever before. OTT video services are dominating the broadcast industry, and video content, in general, is becoming more and more prevalent on websites. The rich forms of website content are challenging the content providers to deliver better than ever content delivery performance. It requires lower latency, improved load times, faster transfer speed, and minimal disruptions. These challenges are also throwing up opportunities for emerging CDN technology innovations.  

With the prevalence of such rich web content, especially in the form of playback video, live stream, AR, etc., the traditional CDN can suffer from issues such as outages, disruptions, vulnerability to DDoS attacks, etc. 

It can become slow when peak traffic and content consumption is high – resulting in network congestion. Below, we examine three innovative CDN delivery approaches that are becoming popular today.

Multi CDN

Under a Multi-CDN approach, several CDNs are implemented. Based on defined rules, content is served from one of these CDNs. The practice is such that the user experiences the best content performance. Nowadays, many large OTT services and broadcasters are opening up to this idea and deploying multi-CDN solutions to deliver an exceptional end-user experience and 100% uptime. When selecting a multi CDN approach, companies need to decide how to distribute the flow of traffic between these CDNs.

They may choose to develop software for this by relying on internal expertise or use services offered by third-party vendors. 

A multi-CDN strategy helps to reduce latency and improve performance by delivering content from the best source available. It can save costs by defining the switching rule to route the traffic in real-time to the CDN provider that delivers the best cost/performance ratio. 

Single CDNs can get inefficient, especially during peak consumption as a result of outages and slowdowns. The multi-cdn strategy provides a robust failover mechanism in case of outages and DDoS attacks on any specific CDN provider. Today, even minimal downtime can result in user churn and create bad reviews. The Multi-CDN strategy is a great way to insure against this. However, you need to create a plan for your switching strategy. You can go with either static routing between geographically placed CDNs, load balancing between CDNs, or create a dynamic switching rule. With the Multi-CDN plan, broadcasters can optimize contract commit usage with each vendor, avoid expensive surcharges – decrease the overall spend and avoid vendor lock-in.

Managed CDN

Under a managed CDN approach, you rely on the expertise of professional service providers to deploy turnkey CDN solutions and manage the end-to-end delivery. The downside of this approach is that you have less control over the infrastructure and your content than you would like. But, you can be relaxed knowing that you will get proven technology for content provisioning, delivery, and reporting. It will reduce the need to take undue hassles and will be especially pertinent if you don’t have a dedicated development team. Reputed managed CDN services can provide you with industry-leading performance for your content delivery. And you have the option of switching between the providers based on your requirements/budget. However, in the case of managed CDNs, you will have to monitor your returns and cost of using the services. It will inform your decisions to swap between vendors – which can then be done quickly without causing any disruption to your service or having to incur high costs


Often, the CDN service offerings are designed for a general-purpose delivery platform, and it may include features that you don’t actually need. Besides, the cost model for scaling commercial CDN offerings can get prohibitive as you scale up. In these cases, a customized & tailor-built CDN offering will provide better reliability, scalability, and performance. DIY CDN (short for Do-It-Yourself CDNs) can offer reduced costs while providing better control over the features and extensibility. 

By relying on your development expertise, it gives you greater control over infrastructure and content. But it may require you to invest more in human resources, technology and network management costs. With DIY CDN, you gain privacy and full control over your content delivery. 

You need to note that even if you are using multi CDNs, you may have to do customization since every CDN differs in the way that it sets up customers on the network.

Which One is Best?

It is difficult to provide a one size fits all solution. Zeroing in on your ideal solution will depend upon multiple factors:- the size of the development team, infrastructure, company priorities, and roadmap. Our recommended approach is that enterprises should use a Multi-CDN approach – mix cloud CDN operators with your own Managed CDN. 

This approach would be the best since you can now control the costs and the delivery quality with your Managed CDN. In case a problem arises in the dedicated CDN, you can route the traffic to the cloud CDN providers that are already in the Multi-CDN mix. 

Some of the clear benefits of Multi-CDN mixed with a Private CDN are:

– You can control the delivery quality and analyze performance at a granular level

– Cache size can be customized based on your business model, target geography and content size.

– You can control the cost of other cloud CDNs in the mix because you will know the real cost of running a CDN

– You will not have to find and employ a tech team experienced in CDN which is already scarce. You may have to train your existing staff – which is expensive and may reduce your time to market. 

Additionally, you can focus on your focus region with Managed CDN and still serve other global regions with cloud CDNs.

Closing Thoughts

The deployment strategy that customers choose for their purposes tends to be unique to each – depending upon the available internal expertise, whether they have a global audience and if they are doing both live and VOD video delivery. It’s a complex undertaking and hence demands considerable thought before moving ahead. 

Delivering content at scale involves big data, latency management, network management, hardware procurement, optimization and management, highly skilled DevOps team, monitoring, and investing in new CDN technology continually. 

The quality and latency of your content delivery are going to be a primary differentiation area for your business, and this is especially true if you are delivering video content. 

At Medianova, we provide global CDN solutions – in streaming, encoding, caching, micro caching, hybrid CDN and website acceleration. We have delivered and managed CDN for leading enterprises and our state-of-art solutions are benchmarked against industry-leading quality parameters. 

Get in touch with us to know how Medianova can build and manage a dedicated CDN for you.

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