Cloud Computing has emerged as a cost effective alternative to managing complex computing systems. Traditionally, organizations of all sizes required computer networks within their businesses. However, with the emergence of cloud storage, content distribution networks have found a refuge for their bulk volume of data storage.
Managing a network requires specialized expertise which many businesses lacked. In many cases network management was outsourced but it still required the attention of businesses since computing service was considered essential.
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The emergence of Cloud Computing is to try to fill a void where companies would want to focus on their core strengths and let others deal with managing their computing needs.
The pluses of cloud computing:
Economies of Scale –
One of the major benefits of cloud computing is the economies of scale whereby the cloud service provider is able to leverage the servers through the use of virtualization. The benefit to the organization is the availability of large computing resources that they can use and pay for as needed. The organization stands to gain in the form of no investment in the infrastructure cost. Using the private cloud described above some of these benefits is lost because the organization has to invest in the infrastructure.
Easy Media File Sharing –
This technology is benefiting individuals in sharing their photos and videos with family and friends. Companies like Apple, Dropbox, Flickr, Google, Microsoft and others offer free cloud storage for individuals to share content with their friends and family.
A recent report by Strategy Analytics shows that music and video dominate the usage by individuals in posting the content on the cloud for sharing with others (Strategy Analytics 2013). Apple is leading the way in music content with an overall share of 27 % of the users. Other leading providers of cloud storage are Dropbox (17 %), Amazon (15 %) and Google (10 %).
From an individual user’s perspective, Google’s YouTube service is the leader in video content sharing on the web. This type of service alone is used by millions of individuals’ worldwide, making cloud computing an easy to use global technology. And cumulatively these are known as Content Distribution Network.
Content Distribution Network and Cloud Computing –
This is where Content distribution Network plays an important role. Content distribution network or CDN is a collection of servers deployed at various access points to enable businesses to store and retrieve valuable data.
Businesses would always want low latency in delivery of any service using the cloud. This increases the speed. Associated with this need is the data availability for delivery to the customer. Cloud service providers handle this need by using several edge servers around the globe. These edge servers constitute the Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs can handle static, dynamic and mobile content.
CDNs can also deliver music, video and games. Cloud service providers develop CDNs so that the content is located in a server closest to where the customer is located. The Content Distribution Network architecture replicates data in different edge servers based on need. In this sense the CDN supports high data availability even when some cloud services are down in some regions.
The APIs that the cloud service provider supports facilitate the use of popular applications such as Outlook email, Office 365 and CRM applications from Sales force. The data portability involves having a process to move such data from one service provider to another and be able to use the same applications. Data portability related problems are multi-faceted. The most expected data portability aspect relates to the ability of the customer to switch providers and have their data transferred to the new provider quickly.
Content Distribution Network makes data portability and retrieval easy and possible from any point. This can be of primary importance to businesses especially the online ones that rely completely on cloud services for content storage and distribution.