TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD, THAT IS THE QUESTION
TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD, THAT IS THE QUESTION
Fortune 500 companies, whether they are manufacturers, software-as-a-service providers, or retailers, can’t afford to ignore the opportunities for revenue generation and process efficiency presented by today’s global Internet economy. As a result, many have established an extended enterprise of customers, employees, and partners with end users dispersed around the world.
It can be difficult and expensive to deliver website content and applications to a globally dispersed audience. This is especially true when attempting to deliver a high-quality user experience in emerging markets, where some of the fastest-growing countries with less robust Internet infrastructure exist.
Fortunately, the means of delivering critical web-based content and applications in a simplified and cost-effective manner has become readily available. Most companies are leveraging next-generation content delivery network (CDN) services to manage the global delivery of not just static content and multimedia but dynamic content and applications.
As organizations weigh their options for addressing remote audiences, most find themselves comparing the choice of building out additional datacenters against outsourcing web and application delivery to a content delivery network (CDN) provider. Typically, after just a brief analysis, most organizations realize that it is cost-prohibitive and resource-intensive to build out, tune, and optimize the global infrastructure required to deliver reliable performance to end users around the globe. Moreover, the time and effort required for such an approach can either stall online initiatives or distract the organization from its core focus for extended periods of time. Owning and managing their single datacenter (hosting) is now sufficient for global customer success. The following are the four critical factors that lead CIOs and IT managers to forgo datacenter expansion, turning instead to CDN providers.
1. Operational Costs: The initial purchase price of hardware and software is a small fraction of the total cost of ownership. In fact, technical management and support costs of storage systems average 60-70% of the total cost of ownership.1 And according to IDC, the market size for distributed virtual server management software alone will reach approximately $1.4 billion by 2014.2
2. Provisioning for Scalability: To prepare for spikes in user demand, businesses must over-provision hardware, software, and bandwidth in order to guarantee end-user uptime and performance. Many web owners over-provision their infrastructure to handle peak traffic volumes. Not only is this type of over-provisioning expensive, it’s wasteful as the infrastructure sits largely idle a majority of the time.
3. Optimizing Performance: Delivering the performance that users have come to expect requires redundant geographic datacenters. This means a lot of headaches and management overhead, particularly during the build-out stage, as teams need to travel frequently, or even relocate, to far off regions of the world. Even then, most companies find themselves unable to match the performance of dedicated CDN service providers.
4. Obtaining Expertise: Getting the core content delivery infrastructure right requires a large IT staff with very specialized skills in a number of performance-enhancing disciplines. These include DNS, storage, caching, acceleration, and networking.
Even if a company is prepared in each of these critical areas, the return on investment lags behind that of outsourcing to a service provider. The up-front hard dollar costs, combined with the opportunity costs of distracting valuable resources away from the core business, are simply too great. This is particularly true when compared with the low up-front costs of using a service provider.
In today’s cost-competitive environment, the ability to achieve ROI within three months rather than over a two-year period makes outsourcing CDN services a simple choice for CIOs.
NOT ALL CDNS ARE CREATED EQUAL, AND FEW FROM THE GROUND UP
Most CDN service providers’ solutions include the infrastructure and content delivery services for static web content, streaming media, and file downloads. These are practically a given. But as the extended enterprise becomes more global, the winning CDN providers are those that combine two critical capabilities: 1) In-country performance levels in the fast-growing markets of the world, particularly APAC; and 2) true application acceleration services to handle the explosion of enterprise applications moving online.
CIOs and IT managers must do their homework to understand which providers can actually deliver the complete CDN solution set. According to Gartner, “Many CDN service providers can provide Web content offload, file download and streaming media delivery, but few can provide an application acceleration service, even though many of them claim they can provide some level of application acceleration. Furthermore, their delivery capability and service performance vary.”3 This is particularly true when combining application delivery with difficult-to-serve markets, such as Russia and China.
CONCLUSION: GLOBAL DELIVERY FINALLY HAS A SINGLE SOURCE
As western economies experience a period of slow growth, the Internet economy is booming in nations such as Brazil, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Russia, and India. To help Fortune 500 and SaaS companies seize on this opportunity for revenue growth and process efficiency, leading CDNs are enabling the delivery of mission-critical Website content and applications across the globe to the extended enterprise.
CDNetworks has implemented a CDN infrastructure and strategy to ensure the fast and reliable delivery of all content types to any user, anywhere in the world. And thanks to our fully integrated Web Performance Suite, our customers rest secure in knowing that they have a single point of accountability for enabling the following:
• Fast application response time
• Increased application and site usage
• Higher end-user satisfaction
• Higher customer adoption and conversion rates
The end result? Our customers can focus on what they do best to maximize their bottom line, while CDNetworks continuously focuses on improving the performance and reliability of their web initiatives.
1Information Management Magazine, Governance Dashboard for Enterprise Storage, May 2006
2 IDC, Worldwide Distributed Virtual Server Management Software 2010-2014 Forecast and 2009 Vendor Shares, August 2010
3Gartner, How to Improve Application Performance on China’s Internet, June 25, 2010