Skytide Blog

Who is powering the rise of online video?

September 5th, 2013

Lumascapes are all the rage these days and for good reason.  They do a fantastic job of synthesizing complex technology categories into a single chart.

But simplicity has its price. Lumascapes don’t explain how each cluster of companies contribute to a specific category. So we’ve created our own Lumascape of sorts on the technologies and companies that are powering the rise of online video, but ours contains a little color commentary to give you a better sense for how each segment contributes to the overall ecosystem.

We even crowdsourced it on dozens of online video-related LinkedIn Groups and received lots of great feedback that we’ve incorporated into our final infographic.

Click here to see the entire online video ecosystem on one page.

 

Who is Powering the Rise of Online Video?

35 sites generate 50% of Internet traffic

July 15th, 2013

Streaming Media has posted a very interesting presentation that is worth 20 minutes of your time if you are in the content delivery industry.  Among the highlights from the presenter, Craig Labovitz of DeepField:

  • 50% of traffic is currently generated by just 35 sites / services.
  • That figure will climb to 60% by 2014.
  • Netflix Open Connect may deliver more traffic than all CDNs combined by 2014.  A bit difficult to fathom, but we’ll see.
  • 25% of carriers plan to build their own CDN infrastructure. Sounds about right; on the low side for Tier 1 service providers.

Based on the above projections, two of his quotes also really stood out:

  • “With CDNs at half of Internet traffic, if you are a carrier and not a part of content delivery it’s not clear what business you are in.”
  • “Content delivery is the network today.”

 

What is the true cost of a 404 error?

June 12th, 2013

Error 404 Inforgraphic

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Fissures forming in Cable TV’s foundation

May 22nd, 2013

Cord cutting is poised to put the traditional Pay TV industry in a world of hurt. Or not. Depends on your source.

To date, it’s been difficult to get an accurate read; traditional operators have claimed that over-the-top (OTT) video has had little or no impact on their businesses, while those in the OTT ecosystem have argued otherwise.

A new report from Leichtman Research would seem to indicate that there are indeed some cracks in the Cable TV foundation, and its leaked customers to the tune of 1.5 million subscribers in the past year alone.  While OTT is not the sole source for this subscriber churn, it is undeniably a leading contributor.

In the end, it may be Telcos and ISPs that ultimately create the greatest cracks in the cable empire. Those that roll out their own wholesale CDN services have an opportunity to actually profit from OTT traffic and provide a viable alternative to cable.  Read Skytide’s whitepaper to learn more.

 

 

 

 

Using Online Video Analytics for Precise Capacity Planning

March 1st, 2013

With consumption rates for online video growing at unprecedented levels, operator CDNs are heavily dependent on their servers to intelligently cache content at the network edge and deliver it close to the end customer. However, to realize the full potential from their networks, these CDNs must understand how to accurately plan for peak demand and precisely provision capacity.

To do so, operator CDNs must be able to gain a holistic view of traffic across all their edge servers — also called points of presence (PoPs) — not only to understand how the load on each is trending but also to make sure that each edge location is serving the intended geography.  Routing excess requests from a particular area through a server in a remote location can lead to video stream interruptions and other delays and inconveniences which detract from the end user’s experience.

The stakes are high. Inexact capacity planning often leads to service interruptions, reduced quality of experience, and inefficient use of network resources. To accurately predict peak demand and properly plan capacity then, operator CDNs must understand three essential metrics:

  1. Peak bandwidth: the value in bytes per second of the highest 5-minute average bandwidth
  2. Peak concurrent video streams: the maximum value of average concurrent streams of all the 5-minute periods
  3. Peak hit rate:  requests per second, which provides a good sense for CPU utilization on the edge servers

Understanding these three factors in combination requires multidimensional analytics and reporting that can help operators to drill down to determine the popularity of specific assets, understand the content consumption patterns of their digital media customers and quickly determine the bandwidth demands  imposed on each edge location.

Can Broadband Providers Learn to ❤ OTT?

December 26th, 2012

The 2012 Olympics represented a watershed moment for live video streaming, asserting itself as true complement and alternative to traditional TV.

  • The BBC reports that it had over 106 million requests for Olympic video content across all online platforms during the 2012 games.
  • NBCOlympics.com reported that it had served over 102.6 million video streams during the first two weeks, whereas the entire Beijing Olympics only resulted in 75.5 million streams.

But consumers’ insatiable appetite for over the top (OTT) online video poses very real problems for the Telcos and ISPs that have to deliver it over their broadband networks.

Revenues from broadband subscriptions are not sufficient for these service providers to offset the rising costs from network infrastructure investments that soaring online video traffic requires. Upcoming events like the U.S. Presidential Inauguration  — and the ensuing worldwide traffic that it generates — are sure to compound the problem.

To extricate themselves from this bind, Telcos and ISPs will need to adopt new revenue streams and business models.  While they have traditionally viewed OTT video as a threat, broadband providers now have an opportunity to turn the tide in their favor.  Read our whitepaper, “How Telcos & ISPs Can Learn to Love OTT” to find out how.

The Importance of Ad Hoc Reporting for Online Video Performance

December 18th, 2012

 

While pre-configured network performance reports are convenient and easy to digest, they are saddled with certain limitations. Oftentimes, network managers and analysts need specific information which falls outside a pre-configured report’s querying parameters. In these instances, they are forced to use whatever data is available and essentially extrapolate the answers, which leaves considerable room for error.  Ad hoc reporting offers a more precise alternative which allows network operations personnel to create customized queries using highly specific criteria.

Ad hoc queries are performed through an intuitive, easy-to-use graphical user interface, which doesn’t require advanced knowledge of SQL or database schema. Users can generate new reports — without intervention from the IT department — and access the results quickly and easily.

Additional benefits of ad hoc analytics and reporting include:

  • Superior information accessibility. Because ad hoc analytics tools are self-service, users can generate custom queries on demand, or set up automatic queries for regular delivery. This is a very important feature because lots of unforeseen network performance management questions arise during the course of a day and need to be addressed in a timely way.
  • Flexibility. Because business intelligence and network analytical needs change over time, ad hoc querying helps organizations stay current and generate the reports required to address present and future needs. Ad hoc reporting can also be used to detect trends taking place over extended time periods, helping managers leverage precise and comprehensive statistical analytics to make more informed business decisions.
  • Easy information sharing. After queries are run, ad hoc reports can be quickly and easily shared in a variety of ways: by email, printed, embedded within corporate portals, downloaded and inserted into presentations, or exported to a data warehouse.
  • Reduction of IT workloads. These intuitive web-based ad hoc reporting tools allow users to generate their own reports, anytime they need them. This saves IT resources, since it eliminates the need for Information Technology teams to generate and deliver reports.

At Skytide, our Insight for CDNs analytics solution offers the best of both worlds:  30 pre-configured reports that our customers have found to be most indispensable over the years, plus powerful ad hoc reporting capabilities that enable billions of possible permutations.  Combined with our multidimensional analysis, Skytide can provide Telco CDNs and their customers with all the tools they need to pinpoint QoS issues and more accurately provision bandwidth capacity.

The Value of Advanced Analytics for Online Video Network Performance

November 20th, 2012

Communications Service Providers (CSPs) launching content delivery networks (CDNs) may be tempted to save a few bucks and settle for a basic analytics and reporting solution to measure online video network performance. Given the increased complexity of online video delivery, however, service providers and their customers will quickly discover that they can not possibly manage their businesses with rudimentary analytics; they need advanced analytics that enable them to probe beneath the surface data to reveal the true insights that can inform their decision making.

Basic reporting can only provide answers to initial questions like “what happened?” and “when did it happen?” Advanced analytics, on the other hand, can provide answers to crucial questions like “what is causing a problem?” and “where does a problem reside?” This enhanced capability enables operator CDNs to optimize performance, identify patterns, more precisely provision capacity, diagnose where problems originate and preempt future occurrences.

By exploiting this information, CSPs can guarantee high quality of service levels and continuously provide end users with a seamless video-watching experience.

Advanced analytics frequently leverages an approach called online analytical processing (OLAP). The defining characteristic of OLAP is its multi-dimensionality, which in turn provides for greatly enhanced analytical depth, breadth and interactivity. Because they are multi-dimensional, OLAP models allow users to view and manipulate data in a number of ways: drilling down across multiple layers to increase data granularity, rolling up data across a particular dimension and focusing on a specific set of data and viewing it from multiple viewpoints (aka “slicing and dicing”.)

In addition, OLAP provides network managers and other key decision-makers with the ability to generate highly detailed reports which can be grouped according to any desired criteria. It also provides users with the flexibility to change the dimensions of their queries quickly and easily, with no need for IT intervention.

The volume, velocity and variety of online video data coursing over networks only further exposes the shortcomings of basic reporting — which is not equipped to measure new technologies like adaptive streaming — and amplifies the need for advanced analytics that can process it all and transform it on the fly into rich, detailed reports.

Skytide Insight for CDNs 3.0 is the only out-of-the-box, advanced analytics & reporting solution specifically designed to enable service providers and their customers to measure and optimize online video performance.

How Operator CDNs Can Land More Customers — Part 5

June 4th, 2012

#5  Price Aggressively

The surge in online video traffic, projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 32% through 2015**, has also ushered in a slew of new content delivery networks. This swell in traffic has triggered volume discounts by rival content delivery networks. Add an influx of new CDN providers to the equation and the result is a buyer’s market for content owners, with entrenched competitors like Akamai offering rates as low as 5¢ per gigabyte***

All of which means that aggressive pricing is a must if you are to get a foothold in the market.

Because the cost savings derived from reducing transit volumes across your network are so great, you shouldn’t let revenue goals stop you from on-boarding content owners — even if that requires an aggressive pricing strategy. This is especially true at off-peak times when you have excess unused capacity.

Skytide can help you to optimize your pricing to compete effectively. For instance, our analytics and reporting can help you to measure how much traffic your CDN offloads from its network. Skytide can also help you to identify which time periods are peak and off-peak for each PoP and geographic zone.

Read our white paper, “5 Ways Operator CDNs Can Land More Customers

How Operator CDNs Can Land More Customers — Part 4

June 1st, 2012

#4  Participate in CDN Federation

Established pure-play CDNs have a head start. The biggest of these players have significant global coverage and the ability to provide content owners with “one stop shopping” — a single contract and bill, one SLA to validate, a single source for maintenance and support, and a centralized set of reports.

To neutralize these head start advantages, many service providers are banding together to create CDN federations that formalize the process of interconnecting their content delivery networks.

Get involved with as many CDN federation planning and standards groups as possible to credibly demonstrate that you are putting CDN federation on your roadmap. Even federation with CDNs that have overlapping footprints can be of benefit since it can provide your customer a perceived “safety net” when putting some reliance on your CDN.

Skytide is federation-ready. Our Skytide Insight for Federated CDNs analytics and reporting solution:

  • Can process the huge volumes of data that a CDN federation will generate and transform it into finished reports within minutes.
  • Can provide the level of richness and granularity necessary to properly allocate costs and revenue, comply with SLAs, and supply the meaningful insights needed to operate a multi-organizational business.
  • Enables you to provide secure portals to each of your customers so that they can access data specific to their own operations. You can also provide individualized access to business partners such as resellers, content syndicators or company subsidiaries.
  • Is customizable and extensible, and accommodates rapidly evolving business models.

Read our white paper, “5 Ways Operator CDNs Can Land More Customers