How Many Servers, Switches and Routers In The CDN Ecosystem

Has anyone ever wondered how much hardware is in CDN Ecosystem ? We have, so we’re going to make a futile effort of calculating a total. Keep in mind, its impossible to calculate the precise amount of servers + switches + routers because every CDN is different.

With that being said, lets give it a shot. On any given month, there are about thirty five CDNs with PoP infrastructure. We define PoP Infrastructure as Servers + Switches + Routers housed in a cabinet/s at a neutral data center.  On average, pure-play CDNs have about 30 PoPs in production.

First, we’ll calculate the total number of servers + switches + routers for the pure-play CDNs (minus Level 3, EdgeCast, Amazon CloudFront and Limelight). Then, we’ll calculate the same metrics for Level 3, EdgeCast, CloudFront and Limelight. Finally we’ll add them up. For this exercise, we excluded Akamai because they skew the results, and Comcast because they’re  a regional CDN.

Pure-play CDNs (minus Level 3, EdgeCast, CloudFront, Limelight)

Total Number of PoPs

  • 31 CDN x 30 PoPs/each = 930 PoPs
  • Total PoPs = 930 PoPs

Total Number of Cabinets

  • 930 PoPs x 2 Cabinets = 1,860 Cabinets
  • Total Cabinets = 1,860

Total Number of Servers

  • 1,860 Cabinets x 16 Servers = 29,760 Servers
  • Total Servers = 29,760

Total Number of Switches and Routers

  • 1,860 Cabinets x 2 Switches = 3,720 Switches
  • 1,860 Cabinets x 2 Routers = 3,720 Routers

For Level 3, EdgeCast, CloudFront and Limelight – we are going to work backwards starting from server count. A couple of them have somewhere in the ball park of 20k servers, therefore we applied the same number to the other two, since all four CDNs have annual revenues in the same ball park. In addition, two CDNs below have around 90 PoPs, and two others around 50 PoPs, so we took the average of 70 PoPs. Also, these four CDNs have dozens+ of cabinets full of servers compared to 2 on average for smaller CDNs.

Level 3 + EdgeCast + CloudFront + Limelight (“LECL”)

Total Number of Servers

  • LECL x 20,000 = 80,000 servers
  • Total Servers = 80,000

Total Number of PoPs

  • LECL  = 70 PoPs Average x 4 CDNs = 280 PoPs
  • Total PoPs = 280

Total Number of Cabinets

  • 80,000 Servers / 16 Server per rack = 5,000 cabinets
  • Total Cabinets = 5,000

Total Number of Switches and Routers

  • 5,000 cabinets x 2 switches = 10,000 switches
  • 5,000 cabinets x 2 routers = 10,000 routers

Total Pieces of Hardware For 35 CDNs

  • Total PoPs = 1,210
  • Total Servers = 109,760
  • Total Switches = 13,720
  • Total Routers = 13,720
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