The Future of Content Delivery Networks

Although Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) offer many advantages, there is always an opportunity for continuous improvement. As the needs of businesses and individuals continuously evolve, so do the systems that provide information and data. As a result, there are many new trends and ideas with regards to CDNs and what can be expected in the future.

These trends include:

  • Storage
  • Scalability of dynamic content
  • Applicability of anycasting
  • Active content usage
  • Mobility for content delivery
  • Expanding Internet opportunities
  • Growing the market
  • Improve quality
  • Deploying market mechanisms


With the introduction of cloud computing, CDN operators have experience incredible growth with regards to commercial computing and storage delivery systems in which the goal is to deliver services such as Web applications, raw computing, storage and other specialized services. Therefore, combining storage with cloud computing allows for extensive storage operations and improved performance.

Scalability of Dynamic Content

In recent years the delivery of usage-based applications and dynamic content has become standard. Unfortunately this is solely dependent on the way content is accessed as it could create a bottleneck at the back-end layer. As a result, initiatives are being developed and implemented by CDN providers to eliminate this bottleneck. Additionally, researchers are studying solutions for dynamic web content delivery.

Applicability of Anycasting

Initially, IP anycasting was not considered to be a valuable approach for the redirection of CDNs. This was originally due to the undesirable side-effects of Internet routing changes through the IP channel. However, with the emergence of control tools, anycast measurements and external intelligence, the method of utilizing IP anycast for CDN redirection is possible.

Active Content Usage

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) methods accompanied by the significant improvement of digital content production have seen rapid growth in the recent years. This is expected to lead to the adoption of user-generative active content which will be implemented with a large amount of independence. Research in this field has stemmed from technological paradigms like agent systems, social science, economic principals and web crawling.

There are other studies with regards to autonomic content delivery like policy-based content delivery systems and autonomic replication of web applications. Both of these concepts can be extremely useful in an active network.

Mobility for Content Delivery

As more consumers across the globe purchase smartphones and become “connected,” advertisers and content creators are catering to this niche market. Therefore, mobile networks are becoming increasingly popular for the distribution of information to a number of dynamic users. Content delivery by CDNs is beginning to take into account the notion of mobility through considerations regarding spatial and temporal demand variations and the minimization of traffic over a backbone.

As a result, mobility models can be designed to permit the access of real-time information and enterprise applications. Although not their primary focus, CDNs will soon be developed with the mobile user in mind, not just the desktop user.

Expanding Internet Opportunities

Most businesses are not aware of the many opportunities and features online media has to offer. Therefore, leaders have not thought about everything they can do on the Internet. Through the use of CDNs, businesses can realize their potential by learning about other methods of making more money by delivering additional content on the Internet.

Growing the Market

Many of the leading CDN operators are using their size to drive the growth of the market as opposed to pushing around their competition. By assisting with the growth of the CDN market, it can reach its full maturity. The result of this growth will be significantly more traffic and thus an increase in revenue. One move in the right direction amongst companies is not relying on only a single operator but several to ensure data is safe.

With any business service, it is critical to have more than one supplier to create a form of mini-competition which can lower costs while improving the quality of the product. If one supplier is not providing what the business needs, there is another one immediately ready to deliver. In this instance, many CDN operators provide data backup and improved reliability.

Improving Quality

When CDNs first hit the market, pricing was the primary factor for selection. This is no longer the case since most CDN’s offer to match the prices of their competitors. Since clients are beginning to develop profitable businesses by delivering digital media, they are searching for providers of quality. Streaming media has shifted to become a revenue generator causing the market requirements to also change.

Deploying Market Mechanisms

The many dynamic aspects of the CDN market are envisioned to create a system that is more easily manageed through consumer marketplace behavior. The market changed to be based on Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) within the business arena. Also, with the development of robust and scalable replication, efficient load balancing mechanisms and resource sharing could become the norm.

These ideas could be guided by utility functions that comply with Quality of Service (QoS) requirements set forth by end-users. Recent research in this field justifies this concept by applying models that utilize mathematical principles, business practices and game theory to deduce the reflection of pricing in the current marketplace.

With so many different ideas being researched and developed, the sky is the limit. It is clear that the future for CDNs is bright. As consumers continue to take a vested interest in CDNs and with the emergence of new technology, CDNs will surely go through many changes in the future.

** This article is based in part on DR. MUKADDIM PATHAN works.

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