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  #1  
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Top dog CDN


Hey guys,

I've dug around a little with mixed results. Based on your experiences, who are the top dog CDN's right now? I'm not talking price, but performance, locations, and reliability.

Thanks in advance,
Rob

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  #2  
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Look at Dan's blog at streamingmedia.com

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  #3  
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Akamai is the best, followed by LimeLight Networks, but both of them are quite pricey, unless you plan to push 500TB or more.

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  #4  
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Thanks guys,

This should get me rolling. If anyone else has experience with CDN's please let me know

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  #5  
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I have experience with both Akamai and Limelight. I would say those 2 are the best overall. Akamai is definitally more expensive and in most cases not worth the extra money. The places Akamai beats out Limelight are their connections in places like India, and South Africa. Those are a couple of places you will consistently see better performance from Akamai. I can go into more details if you care, but if you audience is mainly in the US, Europe, and Asia then Limelight is just as good overall. Again it really depends on specifics and many variables though.

A place where Akamai might be better in the US is when you have an Extremely high traffic website with a lot eyeballs on small ISP's that are far away from the main exchange points. Akamai co-locates servers in many ISP's facilities. Limelight does not they have massively provisioned servers in all of the major exchange points with direct peering to over 900 networks.

You might jump to the conclusion that you will get better performance from Akamai based on their server locations, but it's not that simple. someone on a small ISP (just a random example) in Chicago may save 1-3ms by having the Akamai server on their ISP's network rather than the ISP having to hand off the request to Limelight at one of the Chicago exchange points. That's not much of an improvement in latency, and there is a HUGE flip side. With Akamai having 50,000 servers spread out in tiny clusters all over the world, none of those locations can hold very much content. So unless your website logo or video (for example) is being pulled by that ISP at least a few thousand times per month, it won't be in that close edge cache. Akamai will have to pull that content either from another farther away Akamai server or the origin server. Those requests don't get handled over an Akamai "backbone" they traveling over "the public internet" (for marketing type wording) to reach those edge cache servers were they will be stored for mere seconds unless requests keep coming in non-stop.

Limelight on the other hand has a more centralized approach where they have massive storage at every single location (they boast about having 9 petabytes or so). So content will stay in those servers without being pulled for weeks before dropping 1 layer down to their deep storage witch is usually only another 3ms away (in the same building) where as far as I can tell it will stay indefinitely.

So to try and sum up that last paragraph you will ALMOST ALWAYS get better performance from Limelight than you will from Akamai if it is not in Akamai's edge cache. If you have a popular site and want to serve content that will get hit 10,000 times+ per month (and remember I'm talking about individual files. If you have 10 million visitors per month but thousands of files and everybody is looking at something different it's possible NONE of those files will be in the edge cache because they aren't requested often enough.) Again If you have a popular site and want to serve content that will get hit 10,000 times+ per month than you will likely get a slight performance increase out of Akamai. In my testing it's probably only about 1-3ms though.

Really, this can get drilled down and there is tons to consider. What I talked about is just a brief easy to understand overview but there is so much more to it.

Do you have any specific questions? What type of content do you want served? What locations do you care about that content reaching quickly? How much transfer do you expect per month? I think about 50TB is about the smallest customer Limelight or Akamai with deal with, but that is just my impression (guess based varies things).

  #6  
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We're looking to partner with a CDN to give our client a one bill/one support contact solution. A lot of our client are international companies.

For example, one company distributes their software products as downloads only and they are DVD sized. Their offices in China and Sweden have problems hitting us with a good connection.

They have never considered a CDN until I set up a demo for them and showed then what we could do. Right now, we have ~100TB of traffic that would be appropriate for a CDN, but we have to dig these clients out, get their trust, and convert them, one at a time. Also, we have some fortune 500 clients that we are just one location to them and I would like to be able to bring in more of their traffic on a broader network basis.

Thanks for the detailed reply. I appreciate the time you spent writing it. I'm also surprised only two names have come up in this topic with all of the CDN providers out there. Does nothing else compare? *chuckle*

Thanks again,
Rob

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  #7  
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Something else may compare Rob, but you said you wanted to know the best, and those two are at the top of the pyramid if you're looking for true global coverage and have the money for it. There are undoubtedly good alternatives for cheaper prices but you'll need to ask where their points of presence are and see if they cover the areas you plan to deliver to.

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  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Phlox View Post

Thanks for the detailed reply. I appreciate the time you spent writing it. I'm also surprised only two names have come up in this topic with all of the CDN providers out there. Does nothing else compare? *chuckle*

Thanks again,
Rob
Well you said you were looking for the best and you were not talking about price. I think in general price is the only reason to look at anyone else. If the 3 things you mentioned "performance, locations, and reliability" are what matters and price is not an issue than Akamai and Limelight are who you should be looking at.

Since you mention China you may want to take a look at cdnetworks. They are known for having a really good presence and performance in Asia. With that said from what I have heard Asia is where that good presence and performance ends, and they are marginal at best in Europe and North America. Also at the same time "Asia" is a continent. I do not know what their offerings are in China are as my CDN experience is with delivering traffic to North America and Europe mainly, with little attention paid to China or Asia in general. It may be worth looking into and you can always use multiple CDN's for different locations if you would like. The web properties that I work with use both Limelight and Akamai at the same time for the same files. Meaning if you go to one of the sites I am involved with (sorry can't give out the sites, I am an employee not an owner) Akamai might be serving our logo, but if 'plumsauce' (first replier) goes to the same site that same logo might be server VIA Limelight. There are proprietary performance calculations that go into play in deciding this.

If I were you I would contact both Akamai and Limelight tell them your situation get pricing quotes and tell them you want to test their network. 100TB I'm sure is worthy of their time that they would both allow you to place content on their network on a trial basis. They will probably also suggest ways to test their networks but be wary of their suggestions in that regard as the have a motive. In your case your best best might be to have your international customers from different locations test out your test content being hosted by both CDN's and then you can compile the results and determine where to go from there.


Last edited by writespeak; 07-29-2009 at 08:54 PM. Reason: Added missing [quote] tag
  #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCrowley View Post
You might jump to the conclusion that you will get better performance from Akamai based on their server locations, but it's not that simple. someone on a small ISP (just a random example) in Chicago may save 1-3ms by having the Akamai server on their ISP's network rather than the ISP having to hand off the request to Limelight at one of the Chicago exchange points. That's not much of an improvement in latency, and there is a HUGE flip side. With Akamai having 50,000 servers spread out in tiny clusters all over the world, none of those locations can hold very much content. So unless your website logo or video (for example) is being pulled by that ISP at least a few thousand times per month, it won't be in that close edge cache. Akamai will have to pull that content either from another farther away Akamai server or the origin server. Those requests don't get handled over an Akamai "backbone" they traveling over "the public internet" (for marketing type wording) to reach those edge cache servers were they will be stored for mere seconds unless requests keep coming in non-stop.

Limelight on the other hand has a more centralized approach where they have massive storage at every single location (they boast about having 9 petabytes or so). So content will stay in those servers without being pulled for weeks before dropping 1 layer down to their deep storage witch is usually only another 3ms away (in the same building) where as far as I can tell it will stay indefinitely.
GREAT INFO!

  #10  
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCrowley View Post
I have experience with both Akamai and Limelight. I would say those 2 are the best overall. Akamai is definitally more expensive and in most cases not worth the extra money. The places Akamai beats out Limelight are their connections in places like India, and South Africa. Those are a couple of places you will consistently see better performance from Akamai. I can go into more details if you care, but if you audience is mainly in the US, Europe, and Asia then Limelight is just as good overall. Again it really depends on specifics and many variables though.

A place where Akamai might be better in the US is when you have an Extremely high traffic website with a lot eyeballs on small ISP's that are far away from the main exchange points. Akamai co-locates servers in many ISP's facilities. Limelight does not they have massively provisioned servers in all of the major exchange points with direct peering to over 900 networks.

You might jump to the conclusion that you will get better performance from Akamai based on their server locations, but it's not that simple. someone on a small ISP (just a random example) in Chicago may save 1-3ms by having the Akamai server on their ISP's network rather than the ISP having to hand off the request to Limelight at one of the Chicago exchange points. That's not much of an improvement in latency, and there is a HUGE flip side. With Akamai having 50,000 servers spread out in tiny clusters all over the world, none of those locations can hold very much content. So unless your website logo or video (for example) is being pulled by that ISP at least a few thousand times per month, it won't be in that close edge cache. Akamai will have to pull that content either from another farther away Akamai server or the origin server. Those requests don't get handled over an Akamai "backbone" they traveling over "the public internet" (for marketing type wording) to reach those edge cache servers were they will be stored for mere seconds unless requests keep coming in non-stop.

Limelight on the other hand has a more centralized approach where they have massive storage at every single location (they boast about having 9 petabytes or so). So content will stay in those servers without being pulled for weeks before dropping 1 layer down to their deep storage witch is usually only another 3ms away (in the same building) where as far as I can tell it will stay indefinitely.

So to try and sum up that last paragraph you will ALMOST ALWAYS get better performance from Limelight than you will from Akamai if it is not in Akamai's edge cache. If you have a popular site and want to serve content that will get hit 10,000 times+ per month (and remember I'm talking about individual files. If you have 10 million visitors per month but thousands of files and everybody is looking at something different it's possible NONE of those files will be in the edge cache because they aren't requested often enough.) Again If you have a popular site and want to serve content that will get hit 10,000 times+ per month than you will likely get a slight performance increase out of Akamai. In my testing it's probably only about 1-3ms though.

Really, this can get drilled down and there is tons to consider. What I talked about is just a brief easy to understand overview but there is so much more to it.

Do you have any specific questions? What type of content do you want served? What locations do you care about that content reaching quickly? How much transfer do you expect per month? I think about 50TB is about the smallest customer Limelight or Akamai with deal with, but that is just my impression (guess based varies things).
That's a lot of good info, thank you for writing that

  #11  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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I think CDNetworks is also very good and have some POP across the world and not just USA and Europe.

Any one have any idea about the costing of CDN ?

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  #12  
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Streaming Specialist
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Moon
Posts: 1,097
No 1 Akamai - 68.2
No 2 Limelight - 64.8
No 3 EdgeCast - 64.8
No 4 AT&T - 55.9
No 5 Level 3 - 51.5
No 6 Highwinds - 51.1
No 7 Mirror Image - 50.9
No 8 BitGravity - 47.7
No 9 Internap - 45.4
No 10 CDNetworks - 39.6

This is from Yankee Group Report 2009

How it that

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  #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forumtalk View Post
No 1 Akamai - 68.2
No 2 Limelight - 64.8
No 3 EdgeCast - 64.8
No 4 AT&T - 55.9
No 5 Level 3 - 51.5
No 6 Highwinds - 51.1
No 7 Mirror Image - 50.9
No 8 BitGravity - 47.7
No 9 Internap - 45.4
No 10 CDNetworks - 39.6

This is from Yankee Group Report 2009

How it that

Couple of problems. For one you have the numbers wrong from that report.

It is

Akamai 68.2
Limelight 64.8
EdgeCast 55.9
AT&T 51.5
.
.
.
.
.

Also their report was highly criticized in the industry and Yankee Group took a pretty hard beating from people who think they don't really know what they are talking about and their methodologies make their reports useless etc.

Here's a blog post I quickly found from a trusted independent analyst. Actually anybody who is considering CDN services for the purpose of Video (online video is his specialty not CDN per se) should talk to Dan Rayburn. He will talk to you and advise you for free. He is not paid by any CDN, does not own stock in any CDN etc. Hundreds of BIG CDN customers like Viacom, NBC, CBS etc trust him for unbiased advise and talk to him on a regular basis.

It won't let me post the link until I have 5 posts.

  #14  
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Posts: 32
I'm not going to spam to get 5 posts so I can post the link. Search on Google for "Recent Analyst Research On The CDN Market Needs To Be Questioned"

and the first result is the article I am trying to link to.

  #15  
Old
Streaming Specialist
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Moon
Posts: 1,097
Thanks for correct numbers

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