Old Dogs, New Tricks: Innovating with CDNs

Dror Arie Head of Engineering @ GlobalDots
6 Min read

Today’s digital businesses with global customers cannot afford slow page loads and applications caused by physical distance and latency issues. Page load speeds can have a significant effect on customer acquisition and retention. Walmart discovered that a 1% increase in page load time results in a 2% increase in conversion rates. So businesses are using content delivery network (CDN) platforms to boost the speed of their web pages and applications. In this article, we explore the main value propositions of CDNs and critically evaluate their innovation potential.

CDNs Can Offer More Than Traditional Use

CDN is a mature commodities product. Organizations are already harnessing the power of CDN, edge computing, and edge networks to meet the performance and reliability expectations of their globally dispersed customers. The main objective is to provide the same high-quality user experience (UX) whether a customer is in the same geolocation as the business or on the other side of the world. The result is an explosion of CDN platforms. The USD 15.47 billion global CDN market of 2021 is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23% between 2022 to 2030.

How One AI-Driven Media Platform Cut EBS Costs for AWS ASGs by 48%

How One AI-Driven Media Platform Cut EBS Costs for AWS ASGs by 48%

Even in such a growth market, most CDN platforms provide similar features like caching, load balancing, DNS service, performance monitoring, web application firewall (WAF), network security, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection.

Businesses expect a CDN platform will provide them with the above-mentioned standard features. Organizations are using these features to:

  • Improve load times for web and mobile users
  • Scale services during heavy traffic
  • Protect the point of origin from traffic overload
  • Improve overall site or application performance

At first glance, it might seem CDN platforms have nothing new to offer, but there are new and scalable ways to use existing ones. Better CDN strategies can help businesses reduce growing overspend while constantly improving performance. Most organizations lack the necessary knowledge and experience about CDN optimization options. They can gain access to knowledge and resources through the right strategic partnerships.

Below are a few considerations to better utilize your current CDN platforms:

Offloading and Performance: Motivations for CDN Adoption

Organizations buy CDNs for different reasons at different maturity levels. Business requirements dictate the incentive behind choosing a particular CDN platform. However, offloading and performance stand out as essential motivators. They are CDN’s bread and butter.

Offloading static content like HTML pages, JavaScript files, CSS stylesheets, images, and videos from origin servers to CDN reduces pressure on server bandwidth. Offload is almost entirely commoditized across the CDN industry except for niche players with niche requirements. Media companies that deal with large video and image files always want to offload more for cost reduction. Also, these media companies need to show ads and content suggestions as fast as possible. CDN offloading provides the necessary speed.

On the other hand, business-to-consumer (B2C) companies are motivated to use CDN platforms to improve the performance of their web pages and applications. They want to provide a better user experience (UX) to their customers. They are primarily interested in CDN to boost web page speed by caching content on CDN edge servers. So, the need to improve on offloading and performance is endless.

Availability at Risk Without Proper CDN Strategy

The internet is becoming too important for businesses in all industries. Relying on a single CDN provider is becoming a liability. In the past, only media publishers were concerned about single CDN failures. With recent global outages hitting all types of online businesses, the relevance of taking precautions against CDN failures has increased for any organization with online customers.

Combining Multi-CDN and DevOps practices like Configuration as Code (CAC) can help businesses prevent catastrophic situations. Companies can push configuration changes to all CDN platforms at once. With CAC pushes, you can instantly change the Multi-CDN infrastructure without manual intervention. So, in case of a CDN platform outage, you can easily serve content through a different CDN platform until the outage is resolved.

At Globaldots, we have helped clients with CDN optimization and Multi-CDN implementation for various industries. You can learn more about our experience and learnings from “How to Evaluate and Implement a Multi-CDN Strategy.” This white paper will provide you with a step-by-step guide for introducing Multi-CDN to your organization. You will learn about Multi-CDN performance optimization, KPI measurement, provider selection strategy, risk mitigation, and more. Download the white paper today.

CDN Optimization Can Lead to Cost Savings

Companies are increasingly aware of their cloud overspending, of which CDN is a major cost center. CDN optimization can help businesses reduce resource usage and keep cloud budgets in check.

When considering CDN optimization, you have to be aware of two costs – CDN costs and Cloud costs. CDN costs are charged based on outgoing traffic, while cloud costs include storage, compute, and data transfer. CDN helps you reduce your cloud data transfer costs by caching data nearer to the user, so less data is fetched from the origin.

Setting up a simple CDN will lower your costs for data transfer, but you can do more. You can apply cost savings techniques to various types of telemetry traffic, like event logs, ad views, and device characteristics. Expert CDN integrators can offer custom configurations to save on resource utilization. For example, integrators can help reuse your TCP, SSL, headers, handshakes, and more to save considerable traffic and hardware resources for your cloud workloads.

Edge Logic Opens New Frontiers for CDN

Essentially edge logic means moving application logic from the centralized cloud workload to the CDN PoP (Points of Presence) closest to the user. It can unlock unprecedented customization of content, massive savings on traffic, and of course, minimized latency.

With the help of edge computing and edge networks, applications move the logic to be running milliseconds from the user for an instant web experience with content optimized for geolocations. For optimized performance, it will leverage PoPs belonging to multiple CDN vendors. But the implementation requires some Edge Dev effort. Defining and maintaining the abstractions into the CDN’s edge computing units can take 200K lines of code or more.

Edge applications are a great way to solve common use cases, like image optimization or visit prioritization, and make edge computing more accessible. Edge logic is also attractive to media companies who serve ads and content suggestions because edge logic can optimize offloaded content for each geolocation.

Expected Impact of Edge Logic: At GlobalDots, our experience with high traffic clients includes the following results:

  • Over 90% cost reduction on cloud traffic for telemetry requests
  • Dramatic latency reductions bring several geolocations worldwide from a state of 100% of traffic experiencing +300 millisecond latency to +80% of it experiencing latencies below 150 milliseconds


CDN might be commoditized, but edge computing developments open a world of possibilities. Tapping into the potential of edge computing requires deep knowledge, which is rarely within the organization. Technology partners specializing in content delivery and web performance optimization can be the ace up your sleeve.

GlobalDots Can Help With Your CDN Initiatives

GlobalDots has 20 years of experience planning and optimizing CDN strategies. We specialize in multi-CDN architectures and CDN migrations, including large, complex operations like global banking, gaming, and SaaS giants. 

  • Our growing department of DevOps services can carry out complex Edge Dev projects to deliver the best edge logic solutions.
  • Our unique cloud economy knowledge allows us to apply holistic cost optimization strategies that reduce the overall cost of Cloud + CDN traffic.
  • Our vendor agnosticism means that for many infrastructure components, we have several alternatives. It allows us to serve multiple use cases accurately instead of pitching a single vendor. 
  • Each client can get the most out of their cloud initiatives at minimum complexity & costs.

Contact GlobatDots to get started on your CDN optimization journey. Claim your free consultation today.

Special thanks to GlobalDots technical sales engineer Francesco Altomare for auditing this piece.

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