Large video and media files being delivered with a regular hosting service can take a lengthy time to download and cause a site to respond slowly. When a user goes to download a large file (video, audio, images, PowerPoints, etc) it’s placing a constant stress on the server and bandwidth available connecting the server to the outside world. Video, mp3s and jpgs can choke your upstream bandwidth, and a slow upstream means a slow site, no matter how many computers you are hosted on. The hosting package you are on is intended to handle reasonable levels of usage; however, as you allow your users to become more feature rich, the features they use must be backed by quality and a scalable bandwidth solution.
To solve this problem we offer a special service to deliver large files over a system called a content delivery network (CDN). The CDN is a good option to consider for any files over 5 to 7MBs and is NOT limited to media files but can also include PowerPoint, Word Docs, Video, Images, Animations, Excel, etc.
Sections/Summary of the Steps
Before getting into the details of content delivery networks, please note the following sections/steps.
Section 1: What is CDN?
A content delivery network improves response time and user experience, enhancing a web server’s quality, reliability, and scalability. A content delivery network (CDN) is an assemblage of servers, geographically dispersed across many locations, containing copies of data in order to deliver content more quickly and efficiently and maximize access to the data. Downloading web pages ‘static’ content (images, video, Flash, PDFs, etc) is 80-90% of the users' response time. Delivering media files, software, documents, applications, and real time video/audio streams strain the server and network, and is affected by the user's proximity to the web server, due to latency and packet loss.
The image below illustrates how distances, packet loss, and bottlenecks can affect the delivery of content when a regular hosting solution is used for large files or ‘static’ content.
Section 2: How does it work?
CDNs optimize delivery and increase throughput and availability by delivering data to users from nearby servers, instead of the central server. This reduces the load on the central server, avoids bottlenecks, and multiplies the network speed. For example, Yahoo! discovered that properties which moved ‘static’ content off their application web servers to a CDN improved end-user response times by 20% - 40% or more. Content delivery network nodes are close to the edge network where users are, employ multiple backbones, and cooperate by caching and interchanging content and using global load balancing. With On-demand Propagation, content from your origin site is instantly pushed out to each caching server only when it is being requested from a specific geographic location.
As the customer accesses your website, they retrieve content from the node instead of the origin server, reducing the load on that server and allowing for much faster delivery of the content.
The image below illustrates how a CDN service is different from regular hosting services. The content is distributed and delivered from the node closest to the user. The pipeline (network) used to deliver the content to the user is faster allowing for larger amounts of data to be transferred quickly to a user.
The image below illustrates CDN node distribution:
8 datacenters throughout the US, Canada, and Europe
For more information about Lambda's Digital Media Library please contact your Customer Success Manager or Lambda Support at firstname.lastname@example.org .