Content delivery networks have seen tremendous growth since their conception. As technology improves, demand is increasing and the cost is slowly decreasing. Also, with growing traffic on the Internet from across the world, content inherently needed to be consolidated into a delivery network.
Growth due to Age
Surprisingly the industry is older than most users think. At over 15 years old, content delivery networks have been delivering audio, video and other types of content for many years. Throughout those 15 years, the industry has witnessed tremendous changes from a technological and business standpoint which has significantly assisted the market with growth.
Currently, the service is evolving and the delivery process is changing. Those in the industry are beginning to discuss the many pieces of content throughout the entire process. Most content delivery networks still only focus on moving small bits of information across the Web. Meanwhile, content owners and webmasters are attempting to learn the other parts in the process that allows them to monetize the content they publish.
Adjustment by Content Owners
Transferring bits of information is not the complicated part. Webmasters are grappling with the workflow of creating content, capturing, ingesting, transcoding, managing, authenticating, syndicating, storing, delivering and reporting. Each step is more complicated than the next for those that are not technically-inclined.
Content Delivery Network Offerings
Modern content delivery networks are capable of providing a network of different types of content in an economical and efficient manner, more so than what a content publisher can deliver on their own. This is especially accurate when capacity and global presence are critical.
Defining a Content Delivery Network
The term, “Content Delivery Network,” continues to evolve along with the process. There is still no formal definition of the technology that compared which companies are classified as a content delivery network. Due to the vagueness of the term, many types of content fall under the content delivery network umbrella such as audio, video and applications. Every professional seems to have a different definition of what makes a company a content delivery network and the infrastructure required.
Video Delivery Networks
One of the hottest content delivery network types is the video market. Over the past several years it has grown exponentially due to a large number of new vendors in the market, expectations by video market users and the amount of capital invested in the technology. There have been new entrants, lawsuits over patents and P2P-only networks that have mixed the industry up a bit. There are currently over 50 video delivery networks in the industry with more emerging regularly.
Financial Value of the Content Delivery Network Industry
There have been several reports released with regards to the size of the market and how it is worth more than one billion dollars. However, there has yet to be a report that breaks down the various segments of the industry by type of content. Since video delivery networks are the fastest growing segment and consumes the most bits on the network, it would be interesting to learn the financial value assigned to this section
Financial Value of P2P Providers
It is estimated that P2P-based providers have raised more than $300 million in capital. BitTorrent, CDNetworks, EdgeCast Networks, Move Networks, ITIVA, Velocix, GridNetworks, Highwinds Network Group, Panther Express, Pando Networks, Oversi Networks, BitGravity, ChinaCache, RawFlow and Conviva have collectively risen over $285.35 million.
Unfortunately with over 50 content delivery network providers, the industry cannot be sustained. History has a way of repeating itself and the industry has seen this before. In 2000 there were almost 50 content delivery network companies in the market. In 2002 (after the bubble burst) there were only 10. Years later the industry is back up to 50. At some point investors will want a return on investment.
Lack of Standardization and Fair Competition
With so many companies, customers are having a difficult time selecting the right service for their needs. With no current standards for online content, no agreement for fair competition, the decrease in cost and increase in online viewers of content, it can be difficult to decipher one content delivery network provider from another. It is clear that content delivery networks are a critical segment in the growth of the industry over time.
Utilizing Economies of Scale
The entire market hinges on the ability of content delivery networks to leverage economies of scale to efficiently operate their networks. This entails spending less money on the delivery of the content, utilizing fewer resources and reducing price. Currently most providers are losing money while spending an exorbitant amount on capital expenditures while attempting to differentiate oneself in a saturated market.
Modern Features of Content Delivery Networks
As previously mentioned, the technology supporting content delivery networks has changed since its conception over 15 years ago. Most providers offer at least the following:
• HTTP acceleration
• Video downloading
• SSL caching
• Caching control
• Load balancing
• Secure caching
• Streaming video
• URL management
• Web application acceleration
• Advanced security options
• Customer support
Content delivery networks have come a long way since the beginning. With more individuals than ever browsing the Web for content and requiring the information instantly, collaboration has become a requirement. This allows for quick and efficient access to the content desired by users. As more humans become connected through the Internet, content delivery networks will play an even larger role in creating, organizing and maintaining resource-consuming content.