Fastly adds a streaming-only product to its content delivery network


Credit: Fastly

Fastly, the content delivery network that has taken a more modern approach to getting content from point A to your inbox, has launched a service aimed at streaming media as opposed to more typical downloads. Since its founding in 2011, Fastly has used cheaper equipment built from commodity hardware and points of presence in a variety of data centers.

Instead of helping deliver iTunes downloads, Fastly has focused on smaller content, delivering the images loading the images on an Etsy page or supporting APIs for companies such as New Relic. This focus on smaller content is one of the reasons it thinks it has an edge with a new streaming service it has launched. Fastly customers point their media content at a Fastly server, and then Fastly serves streams, handling the trandscoding and adaptive bit rate streaming for the customer.

As streaming becomes more common — not just for traditional TV — but even for gaming sites or mobile content, Fastly believes it has the flexibility to deliver the content more adaptively — adjusting the bit rate every 1 second instead of 10 — and it can start live video faster, taking 10 seconds or less before it starts playing.

These small tweaks designed for a faster moving world, with infinite varieties of content — both small and huge files — is the reason Fastly exists. It has signed up a huge variety of customers from GitHub to Gawker, and raised about $11 million. I’ve long respected Artur Bergman (pictured), Fastly’s CEO, as someone who’s trying to build out a web infrastructure that’s fast, open and built on commodity hardware, which is why I’ve followed his company for the last few years.

Bergman is one who has seen where the web infrastructure and hardware are going, while tying it to the new devices and applications available. So, just for fun, I always ask Bergman about what he sees as the next interconnect, since his servers are basically optimized for massive terabytes of information flow. He says that in his points of presence data centers he has two rack units worth of equipment that deliver 1.1 Tbps. These boxes have about 112 10 gigabit Ethernet ports, 600 terabytes of SSD and 25 TB of RAM.

“That’s a lot of cables,” Bergman jokes.

As for the upgrades, this time he said he’s looking to upgrade from the 10 gigabit Ethernet ports on his boxes to 40 GigE, while carriers seems to be upgrading to 100 GigE. Bergman notes that would help with the myriad cables.

This story was updated at 9:20 to reflect that the 10 second start time is for playing live video, not any video as was originally stated.

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