Our latest research & development efforts, co-funded by IWT (Agency for Innovation through Science and Technology), have resulted in the launch of SkyWay, a new distributed software component for the Rambla Content Delivery Network (CDN). After extensive testing, SkyWay has now been integrated in the backend of our CDN. It contributes to our mission of supplying an optimal and constant Quality of Service (QoS) to all of our customers. Additionally, it allows the Rambla CDN to provide instant propagation of new content while assuring a reliable delivery and full load-balancing.
Nowadays, a CDN must be able to cope with new challenges regarding multimedia delivery, like the ever increasing amount of files that need to be permanently available, the steady growth of the average video size or the multitude of devices and platforms for which delivery must be optimized. Thanks to its hybrid architecture, Rambla CDN is well placed to deal with these challenges, unlike most traditional CDNs whose distributed architectures require that files frequently travel from origin server to edge servers, in order for them to be delivered from cache memory, which needs to be flushed more and more often. For more background information on these issues, see our comparison of distributed and hybrid CDNs.
In our CDN's hybrid architecture, there is no distinction between origin and edge servers. All CDN servers are high-end servers with a dedicated Storage Area Network (SAN), so they can deliver content either from disk or from cache memory (depending on file size, content popularity, delivery method…). Combined with the optimization of the SANs, our proprietary SkyWay component makes sure that disk access in general, and random-read operations in particular, can happen at a much faster pace. This way, all content will be delivered with equal high speed and reliability, irrespective of it being retrieved from disk or cache.
Furthermore, SkyWay continuously monitors the CDN servers and their resources, and makes sure that sufficient resources are readily available for delivery of content from both cache and disk. In order to achieve this, SkyWay may dynamically postpone processes whose execution time is not critical, limit resource availibility for other processes, distribute tasks to additional servers, free existing resources or establish new ones. This way, SkyWay assures that the Quality of Service of the CDN remains optimal under all circumstances.
Finally, SkyWay is also responsible for the propagation of newly uploaded or ingested content to all necessary CDN servers. SkyWay makes sure that the new content is synchronized as fast as possible over the different CDN servers, without disrupting resource availability or disk access speed for the delivery processes. SkyWay even allows setting up realtime synchronization for a user account, making our CDN ideally suited for workflows requiring the immediate availability of new videos or dealing with user generated content.