21st October, 2020 6 Min read
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In a world where your customers will gladly go to a competitor if your site loads just 250 milliseconds slower than theirs, you must get smart about your Content Delivery Network (CDN).
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If – like Netflix, Twitter, eBay, and Linkedin – your business relies on delivering vast quantities of written, audio, visual or interactive content to masses of users you could learn a lesson from these giants – all of whom use multi-CDNs (sometimes as many as 4) to keep their impatient and information-hungry audience happy and provide the most stable and reliable content experience.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably aware of at least some of the benefits of using a CDN. In the current era of mobile and app-based internet – particularly in recent months where most companies are using the remote-world model to some degree – CDN usage is booming.
Not only is website loading speed critical to satisfying your customers, it also affects everything from infrastructure to the cost of e-commerce. As you may have already discovered, adding a CDN service to deliver your content, apps and sites can be simpler and more cost-effective than maintaining a large footprint of on-premise servers or Cloud instances.
A multi-CDN may not totally eliminate the need for an on-prem or in the Cloud footprint, however it can significantly reduce the quantity and size of servers needed by offloading and caching static and dynamic files at the Edge / CDN layer.
Not all CDNs are equal however. Some perform better in certain geographical locations than others and they may also differ in their offered features and cost structures. By using real-time load balancing across multiple CDNs, instead of limiting yourself to just one, you can optimize availability, latency and throughput.
When your CDN is set up to monitor and route traffic to the best performing content source, you add an extra layer of assurance that your content will be optimally available to your users at any time and no matter from where in the world they access it.
The effort and time required to select just one CDN is significant so just think about the added drain of researching a multi-CDN solution. When looking into a CDN, you’ll probably begin your research online, reading up about multiple providers and drawing up a shortlist of potentials.
You’ll also read online reviews from analysts, consult with colleagues in other companies, provide your details on vendor websites and then have dozens of sales calls where a salesman will try and convince you that his product is the best. Once you’ve done this for one CDN, you’ll need to do it again for all the other CDNs you are considering. And then begins the lengthy work of offsetting each against the other and deciding which ones to include in your multi-CDN solution. If reading this alone makes you exhausted, think about how you’ll feel after actually doing it!
Fortunately, there is a way to fast track the process. By using a specialised multi-CDN service provider you can get the job done faster and focus more of your attention on running your business.
Read on to see how using a multi-CDN provider can save you time, money, and hassle.
DIY vs. outsource is a common dilemma. For every unfamiliar business or life task, we must weigh up the benefits of doing the job ourselves (and probably learning as we go along) vs. outsourcing the task to an “expert.” T
he complex nature of CDN services means that it can take months to acquire the expertise needed to make a competent decision – not to mention that things change so fast, you need to keep up to speed with the latest developments as well. Take variance across geographic locations as an example. As a leading enterprise your site must perform equally well in any of the regions in which you operate, but not all CDNs cover all regions optimally. To find the right CDN for your needs, you have to weigh-up the coverage specifics of multiple providers.
The same is true of specialized features. Some CDNs excel in one area, but not in others. If you serve a lot of images you might be most interested in image optimization capability while another company might want to know about encrypting content, static or dynamic caching, route optimization or HTTP2 support. Some are faster, some are cheaper. Some offer better performance for large objects, some are better optimized for fast loading of API traffic.
To choose the right mix for your multi-CDN solution, you need to consider the specific needs of your business and then match up a suite of CDNs that optimally provide for all your use cases. By using a multi-CDN provider, you can tap into a mass of accumulated wisdom, getting the exact service structure you need without spending all that time finding it.
By making a faster decision and deploying your solution sooner, you will undoubtedly save your business money, but there is also another layer of savings that a CDN-provider can offer you. With the benefit of detailed knowledge of multiple CDNs, a provider can offer you insights into which providers offer the cheapest rates in which regions and which specific CDN combination can offer you the best coverage for the lowest cost.
A multi-CDN expert can take an in-depth look at your entire business, current Cloud platform, CDN, DNS, front-end and mobile delivery solutions and assess where and how you can best achieve cost benefits and other improvements over your current package – a process that would take hours of analysis to do in-house. Optimal CDN offload can also save egress costs from your Cloud provider, some CDNs can interconnect with some Cloud providers to further reduce the egress costs of outbound traffic from the Cloud provider.
Having multiple CDN providers compete for your traffic can help with commercial terms negotiations. In case one CDN provider increases their rates, you can always shift traffic away from that vendor and push more traffic to the other CDNs.
Like every CTO, you surely dread the day when something goes wrong and you have to spend all that time trying to get someone from support to help you out. Multiply that scenario by 3 or 4 (to account for each provider you are using) and you have the CTO’s nightmare. Using multiple providers means multiple support stations to contact every time you need help – all with different terms, waiting times and contact systems.
By using a multi-CDN provider, you have just “one throat to choke” – one tidy port of call for all your support needs, no matter in which of your multiple CDNs the problem originated. An expert in multiple CDN providers can troubleshoot issues faster which result in lower time to resolution and higher availability of your sites, in case something goes wrong.
Remember those sales calls that are the inevitable result of leaving your details on vendor websites – not exactly unbiased are they? When you’re making as important a decision as finding the right multi-CDN, the last thing you want is to be “sold” on the wrong solution by an overzealous salesman.
But how can you get an unbiased view when everyone is interested in plugging their solution and their solution only? One answer lies in using a multi-CDN provider. Because they have no vested interest in any particular CDN, they can consider your specific business needs, the relative merits of your current CDN solutions and offer you genuine and unbiased advice on where you can cut costs and see genuine performance gains.
A good multi-CDN provider will back up their recommendations with testing (both synthetic and Real-User Monitoring) to determine the true performance of your website and compare it against data they have collated from multiple suppliers. All this added insight means that a multi-CDN provider is in a much better position to offer you unbiased advice – based on your existing IT setup, budget and overall goals – than almost anyone else.
GlobalDots has more than 17 years experience at the cutting-edge of the web acceleration and security industry. In this time, we have become one of the world’s largest independent cloud and performance optimization integration partners, with specialized expertise in the area of multi-CDN. Some of the globe’s largest companies with extensive online presence – like Lufthansa, Outbrain, Rosetta Stone Bosch, Bulgari and 888.com – already benefit from our in-depth Multi-CDN knowledge and turn to us for advice on boosting performance while reducing costs, optimizing return on investment, and ensuring that business challenges will be met both now and in the future.
Contact us to deploy the best possible CDN architecture for you.
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