5 Problems a Global CDN Solves for Streaming Video, Part 2 – Origin Shield
Protecting the Origin
As demand for streaming video continues to rise, service providers are encountering several significant issues that impact their viewers’ experience. Often, just when streaming video providers, especially OTTs, think they have enough capacity for everything and everyone, a new show becomes a hit, a promotion brings in new subscribers, or a global event suddenly increases demand; quickly, the quality of the experience declines.
To solve this issue, streaming video providers have come to rely on Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), sometimes even attempting to create their own lightweight CDN. However, there is often a notable difference in latency and the capabilities of a typical cloud-based internet provider’s network and a CDN that delivers streaming video content at the internet’s edge, as close as possible to viewers.
Even beyond helping resolve typical bandwidth and latency issues, streaming video can vastly benefit from a CDN at the edge with specialized capabilities that protect, not just extend, the origin – which is the focus of this second blog in our series.
5 Problems an Edge-Based CDN Solves for Streaming Video
- Reduced Latency
- Protecting the Origin
- Customizing Content Delivery
- Scalability and Cost Reduction
- Security and Attack Impact Mitigation
In this post, we’ll cover a couple of ideas for protecting your origin from downtime and traffic overload, as well as some tips for how to control costs along the way.
Protecting Origin Uptime
Anyone with an enterprise-level internet property knows that uptime issues can be caused by many different things and will not go unnoticed. From hardware failures and spikes in traffic or even malicious attacks, there are so many things that can potentially prevent viewers from accessing their desired content. However, a CDN with the right capabilities can help make downtime a non-issue. Here are a few capabilities that will help:
Anycast is a traffic routing algorithm that determines the shortest data path possible between a user and a node or Point of Presence (PoP); it determines the closest option and routes it accordingly. By routing the viewer to the closest PoP, they receive the best potential experience.
And, not only does this improve the speed in which the content is delivered, it also offers a way for service providers to handle failures. Should a server go offline, this capability provides an uninterrupted experience for users by immediately routing them to the next available server instead of compounding the issue, giving developers a better opportunity to look into the issue and resolve it. Ultimately, it allows you to influence routing in a way that you can’t typically do through the internet.
For additional information on Anycast, including details on how it works, examples and overall benefits, read our blog, What is Anycast.
In addition to the routing of content, caching it at PoPs on an edge computing network will allow it to get to your viewers faster, reducing bandwidth needs and costs. This way, the origin server is not directly exposed to the traffic of your users, absolving it of the majority of the responsibility for absorbing attacks, scaling and uptime in general.
When evaluating a CDN, take a look at the cache/purge policies, as more generous ones can mean less required pulls from the origin, which quickly add up when you have a large audience. As you’re probably aware, if you’re streaming the same video that won’t change for a while, purging it for a fresher version is not as necessary as it would be with other types of content.
For more information on content caching, including an overview of how it’s done, a great example of how one of the world’s largest OTTs uses it and more, read our blog, What is Content Caching?
StackPath’s Origin Shield is an example of a network backbone service, and it shields your origin server from traffic spikes or even general request overloads by having one or more PoPs designated as an intermediate cache. Ultimately, it drastically reduces the requests to your origin by side-pulling new content from a shielded PoP close to your origin.
To do so, it uses load balancing to distribute request loads equally while also providing dynamic failover capabilities. Additionally, because it uses part of StackPath’s global network to ingest traffic, it is configured to use the quickest path to origin for ingest, and propagates the content out to other POPs as requested. By doing so, it optimizes the viewer’s bandwidth, greatly reduces egress costs from the origin, and may even diminish the amount of infrastructure you need to purchase and maintain.
For a detailed overview of StackPath’s Origin Shield, which is part of StackPath’s CDN, visit the Origin Shield information page.
Protect Your Origin from Malicious Attacks
As you’re probably well aware, the amount, types and sophistication of cyber-attacks continues to grow every year. For this reason, a CDN should not only expand your content’s reach but also add a low-latency layer of protection.
For DDoS attacks with the primary intent of disrupting normal traffic and potentially even overloading your servers, all StackPath applications are protected by platform-wide DDoS mitigation technologies, which safeguard anything you share, build or innovate on our platform from Layer 3-4 DDoS attacks.
Additionally, the StackPath WAF can be used to analyze all Layer 7 traffic to prevent illegitimate or malicious requests, essentially creating a perimeter fence to stop threats from getting close to your origin. We’ve designed our platform to give you clear visibility to the types of attacks that are heading your way, as well as security controls that allow you to plan and adjust your protection to meet your particular needs without increasing latency.
No one wants to encounter an outage or even a bit of lag when it comes to delivering their content. Unfortunately, streaming video is highly susceptible to these types of issues because it is a complex process with many steps, components and large file sizes involved. In addition to using a CDN to share your content around the globe without these issues, raise the bar a little more – expect it to also protect your origin to ensure that flawless experience your audience demands.
Let us help you create a flawless viewing experience at the edge.
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