What is an eCDN and why we launched our distributed delivery technology for enterprise networks

Last week we announced that Streamroot has released an enterprise CDN solution – an eCDN – to help global businesses deliver video within their corporate networks to employees around the world. We are extremely excited to help internal communications departments, HR and IT engineers rise to the challenge of engaging employees through video.

Why do companies use video internally?

Companies have become globally dispersed, and while reaching teams throughout the world can prove to be quite a challenge, it is key to a business’s success. Employees who are engaged in company culture report higher sales (37%) and higher productivity (31%)[1], while companies with less motivated employees lose $11 billion annually[2]. To build a cohesive culture across corporate localities and minimize costly turnover, company communications must span the globe.

Because it is such a captivating medium, businesses are increasingly turning to video to train, inform and engage their employees. Surveys show that over 50% of retail companies use video to train sales and customer service associates, while nearly half (48%) also used live video for all-hands sessions and executive town halls[3]. Use of and budgets for live internal streaming are set to increase this year. For these reasons, business IP traffic is poised to grow 21% in the next three years.

At the same time, the age of connectivity has increased productivity, but also distraction. Employees are used to having high quality video all around them, from their social media feeds to their Netflix and Hulu subscriptions. Their attention spans have never been shorter, and they have little tolerance for a less-than-perfect video experience. To effectively deliver their messages across the globe, companies must adhere to the same video quality standards.

Why do companies need an eCDN?

Company networks are complex and have rarely been dimensioned to accommodate the increasing use of video in global businesses. Servers within companies are generally configured for business functions – email, file storage, etc. – and not for bandwidth consuming formats and large-scale live events in which thousands of individual users connect to the same video at the same time. To shield company servers from the additional load, some companies turn to caching video content externally in the Cloud. While this has the advantage of protecting company hardware, businesses generally have a fixed capacity and series of firewalls that regulate connections to the public internet. A massive amount of data requests outside of the company network can quickly saturate all external links, compromising both the quality of the video and other critical business functions.

public CDN struggles in corporate networks
Using an external CDN quickly saturates links to the public internet.

These limitations combined make delivering video within company networks a challenge, and have given rise to a series of technologies collectively known as enterprise content delivery networks, or eCDN.

Let’s have a look at some of the eCDN solutions out there.

1. Build your own network of internal caching servers

Installing caching servers within the company network at each site can eliminate the external bandwidth limitations of a public CDN. However, this solution involves heavy CAPEX and OPEX. Servers are costly to install, configure and maintain, and require specific expertise that your teams might not already have. Regular on-site maintenance can weigh heavily on IT budgets; on days with live events, additional personnel must be dispatched to make sure your delivery network runs smoothly at each and every site. Building your own video CDN is a long-term commitment.

Local Cache Servers Enterprise
Local caching servers are costly to deploy and maintain.

2. Use multicasting or an older peer-to-peer solution

Various peer-to-peer and multicasting solutions have appeared on the market for enterprise streaming in recent years. These aim to keep bandwidth inside the company and eliminate duplicate copies of the stream circulating for every single user. While promising on paper, these solutions almost exclusively entailed significant changes throughout the network and video workflow. Unlike a “typical” streaming setup, multicast requires specific equipment and routers that support multicast IP (CAPEX), plus additional configuration and software on workstations to support multicast streams. Legacy peer-to-peer solutions meanwhile have at the very least required users to install a browser plugin or other workstation software that must be propagated across all machines. Some even use a non-standard streaming protocol, forcing companies to change their entire tech stack and preventing them from using other third-party content management products. Here again the cost, complexity and time-to-production issues have not entirely been solved.

Streamroot DNA Enterprise

This is precisely why we designed Streamroot DNA Enterprise to eliminate the CAPEX, OPEX and technical complexity that other eCDN solutions entail. We use webRTC-based peer-to-peer technology to harness idle bandwidth and better distribute the video within the network. Instead of getting the entire video from the server, viewers also obtain segments from nearby workstations that are also viewing the content; this minimizes calls to the exterior, eliminates congestion in the network and guarantees a high-quality video experience for viewers wherever they may be. Because our solution is based on the lightweight webRTC standard, it requires no installation on employee machines and no hardware deployment or reconfiguration. No need to redimension your infrastructure; Streamroot DNA Enterprise provides the scale where you need it, when you need it.

Streamroot DNA Enterprise eCDN
Streamroot DNA Enterprise harnesses idle internal bandwidth through mesh networks.

Unlike many other eCDN providers, Streamroot started in the broadcast world and has gained the trust of premier media groups that need to deliver perfect quality every single time. We delivered the World Cup and other major live events throughout the world and power over 20 million video sessions every day. Today we are bringing our quality-first approach, as well as the reliability and scalability that tier-1 broadcasters trust to global businesses and we couldn’t be more excited.

To find out more about our brand new eCDN, check out our Streamroot DNA Enterprise page and our frequently asked questions for more details. If you’d like to join the global businesses delivering high quality video with Streamroot, drop us a line to try DNA Enterprise.

Sources

[1] Entrepreneur Magazine
[2] Dale Carnegie Institute
[3] IBM and Brandlive 2018 Live Video Streaming Benchmark Report: https://www.brand.live/assets/documents/2018-Live-Video-Benchmark-Report.pdf