Blog | Content & Streaming Providers
October 16, 2017

Utilizing a Multi-CDN architecture for peak performance

Steve Lacoff, Vice President

The reasoning behind a content delivery network (CDN) deployment is simple: The shorter the distance that a file must travel, the less time it takes to make it to the screen, thus insulating the experience from a host of playback disruptions. A multi-CDN architecture compounds the benefits, delivering much more value than “one good CDN.”

Simply put, it’s a way to multiply the benefits of CDN delivery so that the playback experience is engaging and worth repeating, regardless of how or where your programming gets watched. As video destinations push to deliver higher resolution and differentiated content experiences, as well as a healthy ROI, multi-CDN architectures improve both sides of the video delivery equation.


Multi-CDN = bonus points . . . of presence

Today’s CDNs have a tiered structure, from the origin server out to mid- and edge-tier servers that fan out across a broad service area. Edge-tier servers are strategically located to minimize the number of network device “hops” that stand between your content and your viewer. The edge tier comprises most of the points of presence (PoPs) where your viewers interact with your content. By employing the use of more than one CDN, you get more PoPs for your programming – it’s a simple mathematical benefit.

  • Additional CDNs can widen your delivery footprint and allow you to serve customers from the optimal CDN PoPs and avoid any performance degradation or outright failures. International delivery is a good example, allowing brands to expand globally by incorporating CDN footprints in specific countries and regions.
  • Redundant CDNs – that operate in a similar geography – can be even more conducive to a great playback experience because no matter how similar they may look, the servers are all in different locations. “Stacking footprints” not only gets your content closer to more end-users, but also provides a host of other benefits like resiliency and outage avoidance.


Define your own “best path” for every experience

There are several reasons why a business would switch traffic from one CDN to another. The fundamental advantage of a multi-CDN architecture is that if there’s a problem or failure with one CDN provider, a “detour” that employs a different CDN can end-run around the issue and get the content delivered on time. Some might be driven by specific business rules, such as diverting traffic to a different CDN once the traffic hits a certain level, or based on other criteria such as contractual usage limits (read: avoiding overage charges) or even automatic re-routing when a specific end-user is not receiving optimal viewing experience. Your CDN switching rules can be based completely around cost-effectiveness, choosing your path from origin to device primarily on price. By anchoring your delivery with a CDN that’s optimized both for video traffic and for multi-CDN switching, you enable your service to leverage the best CDN for each video-viewer relationship.

Video quality is highly susceptible to degradation, which is why for video, the best solutions for a multi-CDN architecture are built to respond to real-time, active health monitoring of the entire network, emphasizing performance scores over any other metric. Optimize your delivery with a service that provides transparency with proactive, automated, and real-time control over your delivery decision-making. Protecting your audience’s quality of experience is the way to extract the most value out of your entire delivery path.


Download the full Video to the CDNth Degree eBook to learn more.