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Content is any kind of data ranging from text to audio, image, video and so on. Delivering

this content to any location at any time is a critical issue for the success of cloud services.

Smooth delivery of content and a positive user experience have always been the prime concern

of content makers and content providers in world-wide networked environment like cloud

computing. The primary objective is to minimize the page (that is the content in a page) load

time as studies have shown that even a delay of a second in page loading time can negatively

affect customers’ experience significantly.

Forecasting any failure in network delivery and overcoming it has always been a challenge

for content suppliers and the scenario has turned more critical with the adoption of network

centric cloud computing environment. The network requirements for delivering content

have changed extensively during the last decade when large volumes of multimedia content

started pouring in and consumers’ expectation regarding content availability over Internet

shot up.

Computing performance over cloud-based services is very important to encourage cloud

service adoption as consumers are accustomed to working on their personal work-stations in

traditional way of computing. Thus, fast web-content delivery is essential for producing high

performance computing in cloud and for better quality of service (QoS).

Instantaneous delivery of content in cloud is essential for improved user experience.


Cloud Computing

15.1.1 The Problem

The problem of delivering content in cloud exists due to the distance between the source of the

content and the locations of content consumers. In most cases, data centers are the originators of

digital content. Cloud service providers set up a limited number of data centers (infrastructure)

around the world and store all content in those data centers. Any request from a user for some

content may travel a long distance over the network depending on the geographical distance

between the data center and the user. Transferring huge content like the high-definition video

files far across the network path to the user may cause performance issue.

A user in Delhi may request some content which is available in a server located in

London. Then the user’s request has to travel thousands of miles through network to reach

the destination. For every request, the server in London has to perform some processing and

return the requested content. Delay in content delivery is primarily caused by the number

of router hops (passing of a network packet from one router to another) between source and

destination nodes. As the number of hops between client device and server increases it causes

the delay between the user request and server response.

To meet the business needs and to fulfill application demands, the cloud-based services

require a real-time information delivery system (like live telecasting of events) to respond

instantaneously. This is only possible when LAN-like performance can be achieved in network

communication for content delivery.

Latency and bandwidth also matter a lot. If too many requests are made for some content

on a particular server, then bottleneck problem will generate and a mild congestion at the

network path can create problems in latency and packet loss. All of these could act as stumbling

blocks for widespread acceptance of cloud services.

Cloud computing is basically built upon the Internet, but cloud based services require LAN

like performance in network communication.

15.1.2 The Solution

Architects have created a new model for content delivery to overcome the above-mentioned

problem. Rather than remotely accessing content from data centers, they started treating

content management as a set of cached services located in servers near consumers. The basic

idea is that instead of accessing data content in cloud centrally stored in a few data centers, it

is better to replicate the instances of the data at different locations. It is much faster to access

an instance of the replicated set of data that has been stored on a server (apart from centrally

located data center) which is close to the user or has a good connection and leading to faster

download-time and less vulnerability to network congestion.

A network of such cached servers made for the faster and efficient delivery of content

is called Content Delivery Network (CDN). Such networks were designed to support the

delivery of any volume of growing content without clogging the network. This helps the

organizations to scale their applications. CDN played a big role in the emergence of cloud

computing which is about delivering everything over the network including data and

computing services. And with time the demarcating lines between the cloud and CDN have

blurred. A CDN actually drives cloud adoption through enhanced performance, scalability,

security and cost savings.259

Content Delivery Network

Establishing content delivery network has been one of the major areas of interest in cloud


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