When the internet was created, it was like a seldom traveled country road. Now, it’s the busiest superhighway in the world. Of the almost 8 billion people on the planet, 58% of them are active internet users. To serve content to everyone requires immense infrastructure and strategies to distribute content efficiently and cost-effectively.
For most of the population, the mechanics of content delivery happen in the background. But, content providers that serve up video, software, images, and many other types of content need to ensure that their customers get the very best experience. Customer experience is essential to a content provider’s business since it can help improve customer retention, customer satisfaction, and create cross-selling opportunities.
There are many things that affect customer experience (CX), from the way your organization interacts with customers to the ease with which they can use your product. For the content provider, another crucial CX factor is delivery. Delays and interruptions in service can ruin a user’s perception of your brand, which can be disastrous in today’s saturated market. One way to ensure your customers are receiving a great experience is by employing an optimized CDN for seamless content delivery. Let’s start by quickly explaining what a CDN is.
CDNs Explained in (About) 100 Words
A CDN enables content providers to distribute content spatially. That means that your subscribers in India aren’t receiving their content from a server located in Canada. Through careful positioning and other strategies we’ll discuss later, content providers can improve performance and manage the cost required to deliver content.
CDNs are a critical part of the content delivery process because they help businesses provide a better user experience for their customers, regardless of where they might live. But, this is only scratching the surface of what CDNs really do.
Digging Deeper Into How CDNs Improve Business Performance
A CDN can help your organization improve load times, reduce bandwidth costs, and increase global availability. A CDN also improves performance by bringing CDN nodes and your customers closer together. What are some other ways that a CDN improves the user experience?
1. Web caching
Instead of pulling content every time users request it, web caches can store popular content on a server. This decreases the time it takes to retrieve content while reducing the load on the server and improving user experience.
2. Load balancing
The main advantage of a CDN is that it uses a network of distributed servers to provide an entire user base with content, instead of just a single data center. Load balancing helps you increase the capacity and performance of the entire network without overloading a single location.
3. Request routing
This allows your network to act in the most efficient manner when receiving a request from a user. There are different ways to handle request routing, from service-based to hardware-based solutions. Request routing helps direct users to the best available server for their needs and may be based on metrics like proximity and capacity.
Through the techniques we’ve mentioned, CDNs allow organizations to achieve optimal performance while making the best use of their hardware and keeping costs stable. How do you know if your server technology is meeting your CDNs needs?
Hardware: The Building Blocks of Every CDN
The strategy for distributing content is only part of the solution. Getting the right hardware in place is essential if you want to guarantee your network’s reliability and performance. A CDN server's hardware needs to be balanced for optimal performance if it’s not the server will not perform well when put under load. What does the anatomy of a great CDN server look like?
The CPU you choose is a crucial part of server performance optimization and balancing. For example, tasks that involve containerization typically require a lot of processing power. Additionally, services like data analytics and video transcoding also demand heavy CPU usage. Choosing the right processor technology will help avoid overloading your server and maintain balanced usage.
Supplementing your computing power is storage and speed. Memory configuration has a direct impact on your memory bandwidth and access latency. But, it’s not about loading up on as much memory as possible, it’s crucial that you understand what a balanced configuration looks like.
Storage is another critical component of your server setup. For example, SSDs and flash storage could give you a significant performance increase for read-heavy operations. While in cases with heavy, simultaneous I/O, NVMe SSDs will probably serve you better. Your computing partner should help you find the right balance of cost and performance.
Similar to your nervous system, the internal bus helps connect all of your server hardware together. More important than speed is compatibility as even the fastest components will underperform when paired with incompatible hardware. Work with your hardware partner to ensure your bus meets your throughput requirements and helps prevent server bottlenecks.
Power Your CDN With Great Hardware
So why should you use a content delivery network? As we’ve discussed, a well-equipped CDN can help you improve content distribution and business performance. How can you figure out what hardware you need for your CDN? Talk with your team about future growth, server load needs, and data center requirements when considering your server build. Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring in an expert.
With the right CDN strategy and balanced hardware, you can impress your customers with seamlessly delivered content. But, you don’t have to plan your CDN hardware strategy alone. Intequus can help you set up your supply chains and choose the right hardware for the best balance of price to performance.