By Stephen Blankenship – Director, Product Management
A traditional content delivery network is a nice technology. It exists outside the firewall and gets your web data loaded and displayed quickly so possible customers do not get frustrated with a bad website. But the core technology has myriad uses, and the best of those functions is revealed when you bring the CDN inside the firewall by implementing an enterprise content delivery network.
An ECDN brings the content delivery inside the corporate firewall, allowing the content to be delivered directly to users over the LAN. This lets the company devote a dedicated network tunnel to essential or bandwidth-heavy applications and services, such as an enterprise video solution.
Using an ECDN for video is ideal, as it not only ensures users are able to access the content they need without experiencing performance disruptions, but also prevents video from having an adverse impact on the rest of the network. Sometimes, users accessing video through the LAN or WAN will not experience any performance problems, but their activity will clog the network so thoroughly with data that other people trying to use it will have to deal with dropped data packets and similar problems. For example, if you have a lot of workers viewing on-demand content at the same time somebody else is holding a video meeting with a client, that meeting could be disrupted by poor network performance because of all the video being viewed by other workers.
The problem here is not with the video, or the policies that allow employees to view the content. Enterprise video programs can deliver a considerable return on investment, making them worth the networking challenges that often accompany the content. The issue is that the video has to travel to users in the same network pipes that data is being sent through, creating more competition for bandwidth. With an ECDN, this is completely avoided because the video is delivered through a dedicated channel, making sure everybody gets access to what they need. This is not the case with a traditional CDN, as the infrastructure only provides a dedicated channel from the service provider to the firewall. The content still has to get to end users through the same channels as the other data and applications using the corporate network.