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OPINION: CDNs that prove their value

Performance is great but an affordable cost is what makes a viable business argues Julien Lehmann, CDN manager, LeaseWeb CDN

In today’s industry, reduced waiting times and buffering for (streaming) media are reasons why CDN has become more and more important for broadcasters and media publishers. In fact, today about half of the internet traffic is delivered by CDNs and more than half of the top 1000 Alexa ranking websites are CDN users.

However, another important reason for the popularity of CDN is the reduction of infrastructure cost that it can bring. Everything taken into account, CDN has proven its value in delivering performance while reducing the infrastructure cost.

However, many professionals whom I speak with in the broadcasting industry are shocked about the cost differences between the different CDN providers. When you have large cost differences between proposals, the reflex is usually to go for the offer in the middle, in other words neither the most expensive option nor the cheapest option.

Our experience shows that the cost of CDN bandwidth is actually highly proportional to the provider’s brand recognition and marketing budget, rather than the factual features and performance levels the solution offers. We at LeaseWeb witnessed this trend taking place, which in our opinion goes against the interest of the content publishers, and noticed a stagnation of the bandwidth price between the Tier 1 players. This is why we decided in 2014 to go into a different direction by providing all the services a CDN customer is entitled to, without having to pay the prohibitive fee Tier 1 providers are asking for.

LeaseWeb’s service offerings include dedicated servers, co-location services, cloud hosting and hybrid solutions. We run more than 65,000 physical servers over a global network of 5 Tbps, so using our expertise to add a new CDN solution to our portfolio was a strategic move. For CDN services, open-source technology is used to keep the costs down, while SSDs (Solid State Drive) improve data handling speeds, both of which are key elements to delivering the best performance.

We believe that today’s trend in high-performance CDN solutions provides the opportunity for publishers to bring their media to their audiences in a more cost-efficient way – and blazing fast. The large amount of CDN providers with highly varied pricing means that customers can benefit by picking a lean, efficient and high-performance solution that’s right for their needs, for an affordable price.

To conclude, before you opt for a high cost Tier 1 CDN, first wonder if your budget should be allocated to a solution based on brand-recognition or if another solution should be used that focuses both on high performance and low cost. Because that’s what really adds value to your company and enables you to run a sustainable business.