Sunday, September 16, 2012

Up to 98% of Internet traffic now consists of content that can be cached locally on servers

[It is interesting to see this report from Analysys Mason that confirms my analysis several years ago that most Internet traffic is moving to the edge delivered by Content Distribution Networks (CDN) delivered at Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) around the world.
“In a paper released yesterday, UK analyst firm Analysys Mason estimates that 98 percent of internet traffic now consists of content that can be stored on servers, such as streaming video or web pages. These servers can be located in multiple locations around the world, and then delivered to users faster and at lower cost. The result is a shift in usage patterns and global Internet traffic flows. This combined with deeper penetration of IXPs and caching means that the way traffic flows across networks is changing too. The paper was written to persuade governments that the proposed ITU regulatory changes would hinder the growth of the web, but the report is well worth reading as a way of understanding how the web has changed over time. For example, 70% of international Internet bandwidth originating in Africa went to the USA in 1999, but by 2011 this figure had plunged to less than 5% as bandwidth shifted to Europe. Now, content is increasingly being stored on servers in Africa, where it can be accessed domestically or regionally.”

“Applying unwarranted static voice regulations to the dynamic Internet would negatively impact users across the globe and slow or reverse current growth trends. Furthermore, the rate regime system would be difficult to design and expensive to implement, and even then would increase the cost of content delivery and hinder network investment at the expense of end users.”

It is not only CDNs but commercial clouds and social software services like Facebook, Twitter, etc are part of this evolution. This evolution in Internet traffic will have a major impact on Internet architectures, addressing and naming. Please see for more details.

 Research and Education networks can play a critical role in developing open standards for CDN networks to distribute research, education and public broadcast TV and radio. Please see my previous blog on this subject
For example At the last NANOG (North American Network Operators Group) meeting in Vancouver CBC engineers gave a great presentation on how they use Akamai and other CDNs (Content Distribution Networks) to deliver CBC TV and Radio content over the Internet in Canada and around the world.
This type of delivery of CBC broadcast content is called OTT (Over The Top) is the same technique used by Netflix. OTT is critically important in Canada, especially for Canadian broadcast content and cultural material as we continue to see media consolidation in Canada (re Bell takeover of Astral media). The larger commercial telcos and cablecos hate OTT, have little interest in supporting Canadian broadcast content, other than that they are required to carry by regulation. When we eventually relax our foreign ownership restrictions on telecom and cable, there will be greater push by telcos and cablecos to be relieved of all Canadian content restrictions. OTT may be the only way we can insure that a Canadian voice will be heard in the future multi-media cacophony of competing services delivered over the Internet.

IXPs as being developed by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and a number of regional networks will be critical for delivering Canadian content OTT via CIRA’s integrated of Akamai with the IXP. Smaller ISPs and community networks who have a vested interested in promoting Canadian values and content need to distinguish themselves from the oligopolistic telcos and cablecos . CIRA’s leadership in deploying IXPs across Canada employing Akamai CDN will be critical for the survival of those smaller ISPs and who believe OTT is the future of delivery of broadcast content.

Gigacom on Analysys Mason Report

100 Terabytes a Day: How CBC Delivers Content to Canadians
How does Canada's Public broadcaster deliver content to millions of users a day as efficiently as possible?
This talk will touch upon the technologies, systems, and policies used at CBC to deliver high quality streaming audio, video, and web content as quickly and cheaply as possible to Canadians:
- Using CDNs to bring the content as close as possible to end users
- The nature of "news" generated network traffic and how to prepare for it.
- Why peering with CBC directly (or any news organization) might be a bad idea.
- Front End Optimizations (FEO) that are done to ensure minimal traffic/bw usage between end users and the origin.
- Caching and how to best take advantage of it.
This talk will give attendees a look at how a large news organization manages and deals with unpredictable network traffic at the application level.
R&E Network and Green Internet Consultant.
twitter: BillStArnaud
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