Do You Need Cloud Computing and Content Delivery Networks (CDN)?
More than 20 years ago, Bill Gates asserted that “content is king.” Most probably, he couldn't predict back then how much content the readers would consume on the internet today. He had no way of knowing the current challenges of web applications and content delivery to an ever-growing global base of users.
The primary challenges deal with performance and scalability issues. If you're having the same problems, you can take advantage of cloud computing and content delivery network (CDN). Wait! Do you even know the difference between the two powerful tools? Which of them meet your requirements?
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
In simple words, a content delivery network is a collection of connected servers that distribute content.
How CDN Works
At least one server can be an “origin” while the others are cache servers situated in several countries around the world. The cache servers are in areas that geographically proximate to different end-users. The source media or content is in the origin server, which sends it to cache servers on an as-needed basis.
If a user requests content or resource, a specific CDN URL calls the content from a cache server nearest him. This way, he gets the information quickly with reduced latency. Moreover, the distribution of the load across different servers in various regions will reduce the stress on the primary server.
Use Cases for Content Delivery Network
This type of delivery network is suitable for static content like videos, images, and music. However, many content providers also use it for streaming media.
For instance, a company can deliver streaming video weekly to various users across the United States of America through a CDN. In the past, it would make use of a centralized server where users can connect to access the content. The consumers would have different experiences based on various factors such as their distance from the server.
Users who access the streaming video from different states may experience buffering and slow load times issues because of high latencies. Each of them may experience delivery issues because a central server may breach its user connection limits or other consumption issues.
CDNs deliver the streaming media to local servers and cause the reduced load of the origin server. Moreover, they ensure the maintenance of low latency.
Cloud computing reduces the delivery costs of content and applications through unused computer resources.
How Cloud Computing Works
Many computer systems remain ideal even though they serve more users. Through server virtualization, various virtual machines can access the resources of a single computer while delivering content and running applications.
Since the introduction of the cloud, the hypervisor technology has experienced considerable advancement and has developed to enable cluster management of hosts running various virtual machines. It manages virtualized servers that share resources even if the single host malfunctions. Virtual machines and cloud technologies add reliability and resiliency to hosted applications through abstraction of their functionality from physical hardware.
Cloud computing allows the deployment and sharing of virtual machine images in different regions. Moreover, it permits the delivery of applications quickly for lower latency and enhanced performance. Concisely, it acts as a content delivery network. As the number of users increases, it becomes viable for a new virtual machine to be up easier, cheaper, and faster than adding new hardware.
Cloud computing has different types and can range from custom-designed private clouds to hyper-scale public clouds. It can come with a high-powered bare-metal configuration. Famous public cloud providers include Azure and AWS.
Use Cases for Cloud Computing
The main functionality of cloud computing is to provide efficient resource management of networks and hosts to reduce delivery costs of content and applications. However, it also permits the simple deployment of server images to a host cluster or an individual computer. It is beneficial in enhancing the user experience through the placement of content or application in different regions. This way, it functions like a CDN in resource distribution.
The deployment of applications can also include disaster recovery strategies either by spinning up planned resources quickly or by relegating to a close standby environment. The technology makes it feasible to replicate an environment in another location across the globe.
For instance, a company can use a cloud-computing environment to reduce its hardware expenditures through shared resources across various virtual machines. This strategy is preferable instead of procuring one physical computer per application function. As the number of users expands per application, the organization can add more servers easily through spinning up virtual computes by using templates for the required functionality.
Combining Cloud Computing and CDN
In summary, a content delivery network offers a delivery platform for large amounts of content by using a server closest to the requisitioning user. On the other hand, cloud computing permits scaling of application resources efficiently.
Cloud computing is famous because it has high scalability and can process large amounts of data. In recent years, it becomes applicable to different fields. However, both CDN and cloud computing techniques have disadvantages. CDN has insufficient storage space and lacks IT infrastructure as the number of users grows. Cloud computing, on the other hand, has issues with a high concentration that causes network congestion. However, combining these two technologies becomes more beneficial through load balancing and high scalability that make it suitable for users with massive data requirements.
Combining the strategies for cloud computing and CDN builds a more reliable and resilient delivery strategy for content and applications than relying on just one of them. Deciding to use both systems can eliminate a singular failure point in application and content delivery through efficient and smart use of resources. CDNs reduce latency, and cloud computing offers more data storage. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but together, they can combine their powers to be more useful to organizations and end-users.
Moreover, collaborating with a managed service provider that provides both functionalities can simplify relationships and leverage the combined expertise. An organization can take advantage of both CDN and cloud computing to provide fast and reliable content to its users all across the world.