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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION|It's All in the Delivery: Limelight Networks makes the difference for online media
Posted Apr 20, 2004 Print Version     Page 1of 1

By Nathan Raciborski
Chief Network Architect
Limelight Networks
for the EMedia Innovation Series: Desktop Video Solutions


Industry analysts state that nearly 40 percent of today's American homes utilize a broadband service, with consumers downloading digital files that are growing larger each year. This trend will escalate as more legal paid download services emerge. Launching a service capable of routing such large files to these content-hungry visitors quickly and efficiently is crucial to the long-term viability and profitability of any online content provider.

The challenge for providers of paid rich media content is to deliver their product flawlessly at the lowest possible cost. They are succeeding via a new breed of service provider called a Digital Delivery Network (DDN), specialized in making high-capacity, fast response, and ultra-reliable online media distribution an affordable option. Pioneering DDN Limelight Networks has been delivering rich media for some of the Internet's most heavily trafficked properties since 2001 and has developed a unique understanding of the requirements for distributing this content.

DDNs like Limelight Networks are expanding and enhancing services in order to address the specific needs of scalability, faster delivery, and increased reliability for online businesses. Unlike legacy content delivery networks (CDNs) designed primarily to handle static pictures on Web sites for faster page loads, Limelight Networks was designed to scale with the filesizes of today's digital media and unpredictable audiences. This means increased server capacity, enhanced Internet backbone connectivity, and strategically placed infrastructure to reach the largest possible audience For production houses and creative teams, a DDN's high-capacity architecture can support the ability to proof content online vs. traditional DVD burns and overnight shipping.

Most content providers find it makes practical sense to outsource the delivery of their digital assets based on the cost and complexity of in-house management. But how does one choose a reliable delivery provider, and what should companies look for in a partner? Digital content owners can meet the growing demands of consumers by ensuring four key elements are met by their DDN partner in the distribution of large media files. By addressing specific needs of speed, reliability, flexibility, and innovation in creating unique solutions, a DDN can enable online business models to flourish.

Lower Costs, Higher Speeds
By placing distribution points in strategic locations and leveraging direct connectivity and peering into major networks, Limelight Networks ensures that content is routed quickly from the closest logical location. Rather than placing capital-intensive equipment inside every network, Limelight Networks locates storage and delivery servers at vital interconnection points where IP backbones converge. This ensures minimal "hops" and a lower cost of connectivity. In addition, media is stored and distributed only from locations where there is demand, reducing costs by avoiding unnecessary seeding of items to less-popular locations.

As filesizes continue to increase and requests for those files balloon, a DDN architecture design will accommodate more content and more hits from larger audiences. An alternative to utilizing a DDN—relying on a single hosting facility or a single Internet connection—can pose numerous challenges for content providers. Lack of redundancy in media routing and distribution can lead to unwelcome latency or worse, a site crash. DDN technology architects build enough redundancy and intelligence into the network to handle the unexpected traffic spikes that are commonplace today with breaking news or popular entertainment events.

Reliability and Flexibility
A DDN must have a track record with respected online properties and experience with multiple types of content such as live or on-demand video and audio, streaming, and downloads. Content providers should look for a delivery architecture that utilizes multiple distribution locations around the globe to ensure their media is routed efficiently and reliably. With worldwide reach and connectivity, a DDN is more robust and reliable than a single-location hosting solution and will have greater buying power to expand the network as needed.

As demand for digital media accelerates, a DDN must deploy new services aimed at enabling content providers. Not all customers require the same delivery services; one-size does not fit all. Look for a DDN that recognizes the need for individualized service with a platform built to support the unique characteristics of the content provider, not their packaged offerings. Limelight Networks has a combination of "edge" delivery solutions, world-class datacenters and a sophisticated "Tier1+" bandwidth offering blending multiple IP backbones with a private fiber network. This suite of services gives clients a wide-range of distribution options to match their business models and budgets.

DDN providers must be forward-thinking and focused on creating tools that complement the physical network. Example: Forecasting the need for greater ease-of-use in the legal music download space led Limelight Networks to develop a patent-pending technology-BulkGet Media Accelerator. BulkGet offers Limelight Networks clients the ability to support easy distribution and organization of media files, providing consumers with multiple song tracks in just a single click, thus simplifying the online buying process. Movies, games, and software products also benefit from this innovation, as it assists in driving consumers to legal download services.

As demand continues to grow for online entertainment—movies, games, or music—Limelight Networks is poised to lead the way with a DDN platform designed to give audiences the best possible experience and content providers the ability to maximize their digital potential.

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