Forbes recently interviewed the CEO of Limelight Networks, a powerful player in the booming content delivery business. When faced with the "bottleneck" question about the greatest download pain points between host to consumer, Lunsford identifies disks within the data centers as the primary culprit for delays in the food chain.
From host to consumer, where's the biggest bottleneck on a download?
Disk input-output time at the origin servers, which are where the content is originally being fed from.....We have plenty of servers. We have plenty of bandwidth. It really gets down to pulling that thing off the disk.
- Jeffrey W. Lunsford, CEO, Limelight as quoted in Forbes
Content delivery, particularly the need to quickly send media to an ever increasing audience, is back now that consumers have more broadband coverage. Once dominated almost exclusively by Akamai, other players such as Limelight, Vitalstream (acquired by Internap Network Services) and Level 3 who recently purchased the content delivery network of Savvis, are showcasing the power of matching content with media hungry consumers.
Of particular interest in Lunsford's description is the focus on fewer more powerful points-of-presence (POP), compared to his competition. Why replicate data in hundreds of locations around the world if you can have a dozen or two locations with the bandwidth, capacity, and I/O horsepower to fill the pipes and saturate consumer demand.
This will be an exciting space to watch. Is it better to have more POPs with redundant data, or fewer POPs that can fill the same need? Consolidation trends favor fewer POPs with enough scalability and performance to meet the need. And nothing helps reduce the disk input-output bottleneck like a dose of high-speed, high-capacity caching!