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OnApp launches cloud content delivery platform
Hosting provider aims to “democratise” web app acceleration using spare cloud capacity
OnApp has launched a white-label content delivery network (CDN) based on sharing spare cloud capacity on-demand.
The CDN service requires a hosting provider to deploy edge servers using OnApp’s CDN stack software, which then replicates content from an originating website to local edge servers to serve that content to local users and optimise response times.
OnApp provides CDN quality of service guarantees by vetting the servers, managing the CDN service and providing participating hosting companies with a federation management services and marketplace.
Roger Nolan, OnApp chief technology officer said the service was aimed at enabling existing mid-tier cloud providers to monetise spare cloud capacity and allowing them to set their own competitive CDN end-user service prices.
"CDN is seen as something local hosting companies should be offering. And it is something their can now do with OnApp CDN, at a much more competitive price than the handful of global providers like Akamai," Nolan told Cloud Pro.
OnApp said its CDN stack, anycast domain name service (DNS) and federation offerings will enable hosts to cut the cost of entry to the $2.6 billion (£1.6bn) CDN market by using cloud computing to eliminate the need for a global CDN infrastructure, and so also slash the cost of web acceleration services for their customers.
Nolan said OnApp’s acquisition and integration of Aflexi, a CDN software provider for the hosting industry, into its cloud provider platform gave it the capability it previously lacked to give its hosting customers CDN access to their spare server capacity.
Aflexi’s global anycast DNS service for the CDN is hosted by OnApp at 14 global locations. This determines which local edge servers are best suited to deliver content to end users, based on the status of those servers, the user's location and other information.
At launch, the CDN service is offering 40 CDN Points of Presence (PoPs) across America, Europe and Asia. The OnApp CDN platform also supports HTTP push, HTTP pull, and live streaming of online content.
Dominic Monkhouse, regional managing director at Peer 1 Hosting, a founder member of the OnApp CDN Federation, said the service means Peer 1 can add value to its customer offering businesses without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.
“With more POPs available to us spanning Asia and Europe, we have the ultimate win-win of giving customers what they want as well as supporting new revenue streams,” Monkhouse said.
Clive Longbottom, founder of IT analyst firm Quocirca, told Cloud Pro the service appeared to be a sensible approach to content delivery that deserved to do well. But he warned OnApp would need to maximise service levels and quality.
“If it has a break in service, then it will cut off a load of customers, rather than one,” he commented. “Therefore, it has to ensure multi-redundancy across its global estate. It also has to make sure that it has great response times as, if it is too slow or there are any experience problems, then it will be the customer that gets it in the neck – not OnApp.”
He added: !Companies will not want to pay for something that does not fit into their own model, nor will they want to pay an onerous transaction charge per item of content downloaded over their system. Something that enables certain classes of content, an all-you-can-eat or a pre-transaction charge to be applied as required is necessary.”
"But, overall,” he said, “I think that OnApp may be on to something."