Key Criteria for Evaluating Content Delivery Network Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. CDN Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Andrew Green

1. Summary

A content delivery network (CDN) is a distributed network of server and caching points of presence (PoPs) built to distribute centralized content across geographies. The primary purpose of any CDN is to solve the latency and performance problems inherent to geographically distributed environments.

Since their inception, CDNs have specialized in bringing content closer to internet users worldwide. In the past, the primary value of the CDN was arguably its geographically dispersed PoPs. As a handful of providers have reached extensive coverage across all continents, the physical distribution of servers is no longer the sole differentiator. As such, many CDNs have switched focus from solely deploying more PoPs for local caching to enhancing their offerings by adding more management features and reporting capabilities.

Enterprises around the world have long relied on CDNs to provide near-instantaneous availability of their digital resources to end users. These users are consumers, other businesses, applications, remote workers, and everything in between. However, as technologies have grown more complex, simple caching and load balancing are no longer sufficient. Modern CDNs are employing new transfer protocols, intelligent routing, image optimization, dynamic content support, and streaming video services—which are particularly important with the shift to distributed working and media consumption.

Some CDNs have moved beyond the original mandate and have started offering distributed and localized compute resources and access security. This is not a requirement for everyone who is looking for traditional CDN functionality, but for those who need this functionality, such a solution could be very helpful. We cover these evolving features in our 2022 Key Criteria report and 2022 Radar report on edge platforms and will be looking specifically at core CDN features and functionality in this report and in the corresponding Radar report.

In fact, the GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the CDN market, identify capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and evaluation metrics for selecting a CDN solution, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports give prospective buyers an overview of the top vendors in this sector and help decision-makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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