The Next Nex-Gen CDN – RAM Based CDN for Small File Delivery

server1There are three acceleration pieces involved in the delivery of content from the origin to the edge. They are the first mile, middle mile, and last mile acceleration techniques. Middle mile acceleration is associated with DSA and ADN (Application Delivery Network). Last mile acceleration is associated with FEO. First mile acceleration deals more with capturing the content stored in the origin server and caching it in the CDN PoP. Last year, start-ups like Instart Logic broke down the last mile acceleration piece known as FEO into individual acceleration services, and one of their creations that came about was image streaming. This service improves time to first paint, by enabling users to view the complete image, although only a small percentage of the image is rendered by the browser.

In another area, high performance bare-metal technology is going to impact the middle mile acceleration piece. The new servers are becoming like mini-mainframes. Today, a standard 2U bare-metal server supports 512GB of RAM (16x32GB). Next quarter, the 64GB RAM sticks will be available. They will be expensive at first, but by year end, prices will drop to an affordable level. Thus, a 2U rackmount server will support 1TB of RAM (16x64GB). What happens next year, when motherboards support 2TBs of RAM (16x128GB) or 4TB of RAM (16x256GB), and prices are affordable.

Once the 256GB RAM chips come out, its a CDN game changer, at least for those who specialize in eCommerce and small file delivery. These servers will create a new breed of CDN architectures called RAM Based CDN. Here are the specs of that CDN:

  • 42U cabinet: 6U’s reserved for two 2U bare-metal switches and one 2U bare-metal router
  • 36U’s left over for eighteen 2U bare-metal servers
  • 18 bare-metal server’s x 4TB of RAM = 72TBs of RAM per cabinet
  • 2 SSD Drives for OS (mirrored)
  • 3 Cabinets x 72TB of RAM = 216TB’s of RAM per PoP

What is the impact to today’s next gen CDNs? The CDN software stack will need to be re-architect, and today’s servers will need to be thrown out for the new high performance toys.

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