CDN vs eCDN – Which Content Delivery Network is Right for You?

As video streaming becomes more popular among organizations, terms like Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) are more commonly used – and are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing – there are key distinctions between CDNs and eCDNs that can mean a world of difference when choosing a video streaming solution for your organization.

In this blog post, we are going to review the definitions for both Content Delivery Network and Enterprise Content Delivery Network. We will explore the similarities and contrasts, and help you to identify a solution that is best suited to your needs.

CDN:Content Delivery Network

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) typically describes a commercial service for enhancing the speed and reach of websites, mobile content, video streaming, software downloads, and others Internet based applications. At its most basic, a CDN is a network of servers and data centers spread around the world which cache and deliver content, distributing it as close to the end-user (viewer) as possible. When you, as a content provider, use a CDN, your end-users don’t have to acquire all of your content from its original source, which could be on the other side of the world, adding a pretty significant delay.

eCDN: Enterprise Content Delivery Network

An eCDN (Enterprise Content Delivery Network) is a content delivery network that leverages private infrastructure to deliver content. Like with commercial CDNs, an eCDN’s purpose is to distribute content as close to the end-user as possible. An eCDN provides organizations with more control and visibility of their content delivery as proxy and cache servers can be located within their own LAN or WAN, or within a dedicated datacenter or cloud instance.

Organizations often use an eCDN to distribute internal videos to their employees across the globe, ensuring efficient delivery and minimal impact on bandwidth availability. In certain cases, organizations can also use eCDNs to deliver content to external viewers (like customers or partners) by using the eCDN to deliver video directly to the internet or leveraging an organization’s global network to deliver content to the nearest public CDN ingest server.

Main differences between CDN and eCDN

There are three main differentiators between CDNs and eCDNs – ownership, cost, and scalability.

A CDN is usually a service used by a content owner for distributing content over the Internet, whereas an eCDN tends to be a solution owned by the organization using it, and usually used for distributing private content over internal networks. As a result, the cost impact of the two types of delivery networks are different. A CDN will tend to be a recurring operating expense (OPEX,) with usage costs being paid on an annual or monthly basis. An eCDN however, is usually a capital expense, with the investment being made upfront by the organization to create a solution for their own network and needs.

The final, and arguably most important, difference, is scalability. An eCDN will have significant challenges with scalability, whereas CDNs, as a service, are easier to scale and change with evolving needs. This makes CDNs much better suited for organizations looking to share videos to the general public outside of their network.

What should I be using?

There are two ways to answer this question.

In the simplest of worlds, eCDNs are better suited to internal usage, whereas more traditional CDNs can be better suited to delivering content outside of your organization.

However, this tends to be a more complex question, with a more complex answer.  As video streaming evolves and becomes more important to organizations around the globe, more flexible options are needed. Haivision Media Platform is a versatile and scalable video streaming and eCDN solution for organizations, allowing them to stream video from anywhere, to multiple offices around the world. This platform combines the security your organization demands from an eCDN, with the scalability and flexibility more often seen in CDNs including the ability to deploy some elements of the Haivision Media Platform eCDN solution in the cloud. And thanks to SRT, you can be assured that your videos are always top quality and that they won’t overwhelm your network. Learn more.

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