GDS International - Converged Edge Caching of Over-the-top and Managed Content


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The debate about the impact of video on an operator’s broadband network is over. Video
consumption is outpacing every other use of the Internet today and the growth is showing
no signs of a slowdown. Internet video will be more than 50 percent of consumer Internet traffic by the end of 2012 according to Cisco’s VNI study. PeerApp’s U.S. deployments regularly see Netflix alone account for over 35% of peak traffic. At the same time, the video delivery value chain includes the operator as a transport mechanism, but excludes the operator from participation in the revenue stream. Operators world-wide are developing defensive and offensive strategies to cope with the tremendous consumer demand for Internet content.

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GDS International - Converged Edge Caching of Over-the-top and Managed Content

  1. 1. PEERAPP WHITE PAPERConverged Edge Caching ofOver-the-top and Managed ContentDecember 2011
  2. 2. Introduction converged content caching architecture that addresses these objectives.The debate about the impact of video on anoperator’s broadband network is over. Video The converged content caching architectureconsumption is outpacing every other use of takes a holistic view of content delivery in thethe Internet today and the growth is showing operator network. The architecture provides ano signs of a slowdown. balanced view of both the unmanaged over- the-top (OTT) content traffic, which representsInternet video will be more than 50 percent of the majority of total traffic today, and theconsumer Internet traffic by the end of 2012 managed CDN content, sourced from operatoraccording to Cisco’s VNI study. PeerApp’s U.S. relationships direct with content owners. Adeployments regularly see Netflix alone converged content caching architectureaccount for over 35% of peak traffic. uniquely provides the operator with a fasterAt the same time, the video delivery value time to revenue and immediate networkchain includes the operator as a transport optimization for ALL of their content traffic.mechanism, but excludes the operator from The Role of Cachingparticipation in the revenue stream. Operatorsworld-wide are developing defensive and The primary solution that meets the operatoroffensive strategies to cope with the goal of network optimization is caching.tremendous consumer demand for Internet Simply stated, by storing and serving popularcontent. content at the edge of the network, the number of bits transferred across the networkOperators are creating opportunities for direct core and Internet transit links is reduced, andparticipation in the value chain of content the content delivery quality is improved. Otherdelivery as they build their own content network optimization techniques may be useddelivery infrastructure, the Operator CDN. The that include traffic shaping or prioritization.primary drivers for operator CDN deployments Each of these has merit in various situations,vary from operator to operator, but are but caching is the only solution that providestypically summarized as: direct impact to the amount of traffic served 1. Revenue Generation – product and while meeting the subscriber demand for high service revenue resulting from new QoE. business models made possible by the Caching is used by operators for delivery of newly deployed infrastructure. both managed CDN content and unmanaged 2. Network Optimization – core network OTT content. While there is a certain overlap traffic offload, infrastructure upgrade between CDN content delivery and OTT deferment, and reduction of transit transparent caching, the two diverge in their costs. business objectives and technical requirements. 3. Subscriber Benefit – higher Quality of CDN content delivery is an end-to-end offering Experience (QoE) and product focusing on content service providers (CSPs), of stickiness to the operator’s own which content caching is a part. In addition to subscribers and wholesale customers, content caching, a CDN solution typically as well as opportunities to create includes content ingestion distribution and emerging value-added or subscriber reporting, as well as optional functionality of retention services like “TV Everywhere” content transcoding, content protectionPeerApp is actively engaged with a number of (DRM), and advanced analytics.content delivery partners to deliver aCopyright 2011 PeerApp Ltd. All rights reserved 2
  3. 3. The CDN is built to deliver a consistent service de facto standard for Internet video delivery.level in the face of demand variations, network The interaction of a client and the contentcongestion and faults, in a uniform way for all source allows for constant adjustment of thecontent objects stored in it. video quality to match network conditions. The lower the latency of the connection, the higherAs a result, in CDN caching, the compliance the quality video can be served.with SLAs and content business logic hashigher priority than does operator’s networkoptimization.CDN caching is “cooperative” in a sense thatCDN caches and CDN origin servers cooperatein delivery of pre-ingested and known contentlibraries of content service providers using theCDN.By contrast, caching of unmanaged content isdesigned to achieve the widest possiblenetwork impact for the network operator,without pre-existing knowledge of the contentor cooperation with the content serviceprovider. It concurrently deals with a very largenumber of content services and very largeInternet content sets, and, as a result, is mostlystatistical and predictive in nature.CDN content delivery and OTT cachingtherefore, turn out to serve different and Figure 1: Netflix Accelerationcomplementary objectives. Operators lookingto holistically manage content in their networksneed to consider both types of caching and how Netflix, the largest content service provider inthey can work together. U.S., leverages the Microsoft’s Silverlight ABR delivery mechanism and all of the top globalThe following section describes how CDN and CDN networks. An average video quality ofOTT caching can be used together within 2.7Mbps is measured by Netflix across the bestoperator network to achieve the broadest U.S. access networks. By comparison, thepossible impact on the network and to enable UltraBand deployed at the network edgenew business opportunities. (CMTS), delivers sustained throughput of 4.2Mbps from the cache. This level ofCaching at the Subscriber Edge sustained, high quality delivery can be directlyThe benefits of content caching are maximized measured as increased QoE toward theby placing content close to subscribers within operator CDN goals.operators’ network. By caching content at thebroadband subscriber edge, operatorsminimize the latency of delivery to subscribers,resulting in the high session throughputrequired to provide high Internet video qualityof experience (QoE).The speed of content delivery is especiallycritical with the delivery of adaptive bit rate(ABR) protocols. ABR delivery is becoming theCopyright 2011 PeerApp Ltd. All rights reserved 3
  4. 4. Defining the Subscriber EdgeTransparent caching at the network edgeallows the statistical delivery of popular Transparent caching improvescontent. The edge cache reduces the impact on operator CDN economics, enablesInternet transit, core network transit and metrotransit. This creates a cumulative network CDN caching at the IP edgeoffload of 20-40% across multiple segments ofoperator’s network. By contrast, CDN cachingwould not be as effective at the edge, since it As LTE networks are deployed worldwide, thewould address a much smaller portion of the IP edge moves closer to the network edge. Thistotal traffic. allows the cache to be deployed at the SAE gateway (SGW), increasing the networkPeerApp’s UltraBand transparent caching optimization impacts and decreasing theplatform is uniquely positioned for deployment content delivery latency, to make use of full 4Gat the subscriber edge. broadband speeds.This mode of deployment features a largenumber of caching elements deployed withinthe operator’s access network. It is thereforecritical to maintain low cost of ownership of thesolution through seamless network integration,fully automated operation and high systemavailability.UltraBand fully meets these requirements,while also enabling operators to scale theircaching footprint by adding computational andstorage resources as needed. Figure 3: Mobile network: edge deployment overviewThe location of the subscriber edge varies in indifferent types of fixed broadband networks-from highly distributed CMTS level in MSO Converged Content Delivery Architecturenetworks to metro-level BRAS/BNG The utilization of operator CDNs ramps updeployments in DSL/FTTx networks. gradually, as subscribers adopt new service offerings and content service providers begin to tap new content distribution capabilities. Because of this, the operator CDNs are responsible for a modest share of overall broadband network traffic today, with traffic forecasts ranging from 15 to 30% in the next 36 months. The operators are therefore taking centralized rather than distributed approach to CDNFigure 2: DSL network: edge deployment overview deployment. The CDN edge nodes areWhen deploying the content caching solution in deployed around the inner core network, rather3G wireless networks, the edge cache platform than in locations where aggregation ofis deployed next to GGSN at the Gi interface. subscribers creates sufficient traffic density. In the converged architecture, the UltraBand platform is deployed closer to the subscriberCopyright 2011 PeerApp Ltd. All rights reserved 4
  5. 5. edge, where it acts as a common caching layer needed, the converged architecture allowsfor both on-net operator CDN and over-the-top operators to right-size their CDNs, and enablestraffic. instantaneous provisioning of resources. The edge caching is able to sustain delivery of higher quality video, with throughput improvement of 2x-4x as exemplified in the Netflix comparison (Figure 1). With adoption of adaptive bitrate technology for streaming of video over Internet, the streaming client immediately takes advantage of local cache by switching to higher quality video bitrate. The quality improvement results in CDN revenue increase, as end users consume more bits per minute and in video quality causes end users to consume more minutes ofFigure 4: Converged content delivery architecture video, with each causes end users to consumeThe OTT content represents most of the more data per minute of view and to consumeremaining 70-90% of broadband downstream more minute, leading in higher CDN datatraffic on the network. consumption per minute of video as well as larger amount of minutes consumed due toBy caching the CDN traffic at subscriber edge, increased customer retention.operators can capture the following benefits: - Offload of network capacity between Network Deployment subscriber edge and CDN nodes The architecture of caching deployment within (on-net or over-the-top) operator network may vary, depending on pre- - Optimal handling of peak events on the existing caching deployment and variations in CDN subscriber density across the network. - Significant video quality improvement, leading to customer retention, In urban locations with high subscriber density increased content viewership and an and backbone proximity transparent caching increase in CDN content consumption nodes may be co-located with operator CDN nodes. In other locations off the backbone,By optimizing a much larger share of the transparent caching nodes to offload operatornetwork, the converged architecture provides CDN traffic delivered from nearest CDN nodes.the best economics of edge delivery. In doingso, it enables operators to extend their CDNfootprint much deeper into the access networkwhile providing broadest impact to bothnetwork optimization and subscriber quality.The edge deployment also allows smoothhandling of peak events on the network. Newsevents, such as a sporting event, or a viraleffect created by social media, bring manyusers to similar content in a short period oftime, creating a tremendous spike in traffic andforcing operators to over-provision their CDNfootprint. By steering resources between OTTand CDN traffic at the subscriber edge asCopyright 2011 PeerApp Ltd. All rights reserved 5
  6. 6. Transparent Cache cached. The caching of operator CDN content node CDN node by UltraBand is done in a transparent manner, the same way as over-the-top delivery. This allows the operator CDN to retain request and content load balancing within CDN cloud without change. All aspects of CDN business logic and operation are retained “as is”, when deployed in conjunction with transparent caching: - CDN request routing (DNS-based, Anycast, HTTP redirect) - User authorization (URL token, cookie etc.) - Access “geo-control” - DRM content protection - Content adaptation for mobile platforms - Video transcoding/transrating The preservation of application logic is inherentFigure 5: Network Deployment Overview to transparent caching (hence the name). UltraBand’s transparency has been deployedContent Delivery Logic and proven in a very large variety of CDN andWhen an operator CDN is deployed in non-CDN-delivered applications and services.conjunction with transparent caching, the CDNeffectively adopts three-tier architecture, Integration between operator CDN andwhere transparent caching acts as the first tier transparent cache provides for the following(i.e. closest to the subscriber). functionality: - Reporting of content delivered by the External origin CDN origin transparent cache back to CDN, for billing 3 and analytics purposes - Cache control, allowing CDN edge to IP Core extend caching policies and prioritization to CDN edge downstream transparent cache 2 CDN management Transparent 1 cache CDN IP Edge edge IP Core Cache Status Control Transaction reporting Transparent End users cache IP EdgeFigure 6: 3-tier content delivery architectureThe second and third tiers of the architectureare exclusive to the operator CDN: at theoperator backbone and CDN edge. Traffic End usersserved from the operator CDN flows across the Figure 7: CDN Integration interfacesnetwork edge where it can be transparentlyCopyright 2011 PeerApp Ltd. All rights reserved 6
  7. 7. Conclusion to their subscribers. The UltraBand system integrates well with the operator CDN Fixed and mobile operators world-wide are architecture, enabling operators to leverage developing strategies enabling them to reduce the transparent caching layer to extend their their network costs, improve subscriber CDN footprint deeper into the network, satisfaction and create new content-based optimize their CDN deployment and deploy an revenue streams to cope with an explosion of integrated caching solution at the subscriber content in their networks. PeerApp’s UltraBand edge. transparent caching system enables operators to optimize the delivery of unmanaged content About PeerApp PeerApp is the leading infrastructure provider of transparent Internet caching and content delivery platforms, enabling network operators to control rich media content, improve network efficiency, enhance subscribers’ quality of experience, and offer new Internet content services. More than 175 operators in over 60 countries have deployed PeerApp systems. PeerApp was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts, USA. For more information, visit Copyright 2011 PeerApp, Ltd. PeerApp, UltraBand, UBView, UBInsight and their respective logos are trademarks of PeerApp Ltd. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. The information in this document is believed to be accurate in all aspects at the time of publication and is subject to change without notice. PeerApp Ltd. is not liable for any errors that appear in this document. December 2011-AWorld Headquarters Europe, ME, Africa Asia, Pacific Americas Japan375 Elliot Street, Suite 150K japan@peerapp.comNewton, MA 02464 Copyright 2011 PeerApp Ltd. All rights reserved