Enterprise Evolution towards Cloud and CDN

The Cloud enables business process change, and allows enterprises to act more efficiently and flexibly

Cloud computing is computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked in such a way to provide some centralized service (i.e., data storage or online access to computer services or resources). Cloud computing (“the cloud”) focuses on maximizing the effectiveness of shared resources.  Cloud computing is the convergence of multiple concepts which includes virtualization, distributed applications, grid, maturity of enterprise software applications and enterprise IT management. This convergence enables a dynamic, flexible and economic approach for deploying and scaling enterprise IT.

Cloud computing deployment model is characterized into four categories:

  • Public Cloud – Public cloud services are characterized as being provided to clients from a third party service provider through the Internet. The user’s data is not publically visible and public cloud vendors usually give an access control mechanism for their users. Public clouds give an elastic, cost effective means to deploy solutions to their clients.
  • Private Cloud – A private cloud presents many of the advantages of a public cloud computing environment which are being elastic and service based. Additionally, data and processes are managed within the enterprise without the limitations of network bandwidth, security exposures and legal requirements. This helps in greater control of the cloud infrastructure, by increasing security and resiliency.
  • Community Cloud – A community cloud is controlled and used by a group of enterprise which has shared interests which are specific security requirements or a common mission. The members of the community share access to the data and applications in the cloud.
  • Hybrid Cloud – A hybrid cloud is an amalgamation of a public and private cloud that interoperates. In this model users usually outsource non-business-critical information and processing to the public cloud at the same time keeping business-critical services and data in their control.

Cloud computing has been a part of the computing landscape for many years, but with the extensive deployment of Internet communications facilities, it is growing within the reach of businesses and individual customers.  The Cloud is an enabler of business process change as it facilitates enterprise to achieve activities more efficiently and more flexibly.   Recent studies indicate that more than 75 percent of enterprises believe the IT role, including effective content management, is critical for the Cloud services ecosystem.  In terms of Cloud deployment models, Public Cloud leads in breadth of enterprise adoption while Private Cloud leads in terms of workload (e.g. amount of content carried).

One of the most important impacts of enterprise adoption of the Cloud is the need to more efficiently manage massive amounts of data in the form of business content.  A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of servers, or computers interconnected over the Internet, that are placed closer to users across the globe to reduce the distance content travels.   CDNs provide solutions for efficiently and effectively managing content of all types.  Solutions include core services such as aggregation, management, and distribution of content as well as a variety of value-added functionality.  The market need for CDN solutions correlates directly with the explosion of broadband networks, smart mobile phones, and related applications, services and content.  In particular, the convergence of cellular networks supported by 4G/LTE broadband wireless, and Cloud-based applications, facilitates the need for more intelligent content solutions.

CDN technologies have been developed as the solution to bring the data closer to the user. CDN providers will typically place a group of servers in some strategic geographical locations across the globe. These servers will host a copy of the content provider content to serve relatively nearby users.  Reduced Internet latency is most beneficial to real-time applications, like delivery of video to clients.  Thanks to advances in virtualization and Cloud-based deployments, many CDN deployments can run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware with virtual machines (VMs), thereby reducing costs and improving infrastructure flexibility.

One of the areas that enterprise companies want to leverage as a result of CDN usage is Rich Media, which is synonymous with interactive multimedia.  Enterprise companies wish to leverage a richer media experience for everything from consumer facing areas such as CRM and Advertising to more B2B areas such as inventory management and other logistics areas.  Effective CDN deployments use content replication and local caching technologies to efficiently push high-quality multimedia content out to many distributed enterprise sites.

Global CDN Internet Traffic

Mind Commerce sees global CDN traffic taking a relatively large jump staring in 2017 as depicted in the above illustration.   Enterprise functions driving adoption of CDN include:

  • Communications, Applications, and Content Collaboration
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Digital Content Creation
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Office Automation
  • Project and Portfolio Management
  • Supply Chain Management

Looking beyond the initial market for CDNs which consisted largely of various Communications Service Providers (CSPs), enterprise CDN adoption is a substantial growth opportunity for the overall content management ecosystem.  However, it is important to note that enterprise often has different requirements than CSPs as they focus on key attributes that the former is not yet ready and/or not applicable to provide to consumer customers such as application acceleration, online security and website optimization.  Forward thinking CSPs are bundling core CDN services to enterprise along with cloud-based storage and various premium services such as secure connectivity via carrier Ethernet.

Featured Report

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) 2015 evaluates the current state of the market for content, CDN providers, and solutions. The report addresses key areas necessary for next generation applications, content, and commerce offerings, supported by CDN core services such as aggregation, management, and distribution of content as well as a variety of value-added functionality. The report is must-reading for anyone involved in data management at either the B2C or B2B level within an enterprise.

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