Varnish 6.0 Now Supports TLS Streaming of 100Gb Per Server

Varnish Software, the caching software pioneer, now supports 100Gbit video delivery over TLS with the latest Varnish 6.0 release and Varnish Streaming Server.

“With this breakthrough, Varnish 6.0 offers certified 100Gbit video delivery over TLS,” Varnish Software VP of Technology Reza Naghibi explains in the company’s announcement. “With Varnish Streaming Server, you can upgrade your infrastructure, and we will certify your site or platform for 100Gbit video streaming delivery. This is an industry first, and a feature many of our customers have been demanding.”

Video Dominates Internet Traffic

Video delivery and video streaming now constitute the majority of Internet traffic. Last year in a widely cited survey, Cisco predicted that video would comprise 82% of all Internet traffic in 2021. Video already made up 73% of traffic in 2016. People are also watching higher-quality video, which uses more bandwidth. Types of video being watched include on-demand content like Netflix and Amazon Prime, web cam viewing, YouTube and traditional TV options available via the Internet (IP VoD). 18 year olds in the U.S. now spend more time watching YouTube than any television network. At the Content Delivery Summit a couple years ago in New York, Mark Fish, VP of marketing and business development at Qwilt, succinctly summed things up, “Internet TV is replacing broadcast TV. This is an unstoppable force happening to the industry”.

The Rise in Live Video Streaming

In its research, Cisco also noted that live video is the quickest growing segment of Internet video. Many companies are now offering live streaming options that weren’t previously, including Facebook Live, Twitter sports or news events and live over-the-top bundles from big companies like Hulu, YouTube and AT&T. Cisco expects live video to comprise 13% of all video traffic on the Internet by 2020, up from 3% in 2016.

Increasingly, companies are also integrating live video into business practices, for instance broadcasting live video events to the public or creating an internal video network for training and education purposes within the organization. Companies across different industries and sectors, from healthcare to large media companies to universities, have seen huge growth in video as part of their content delivery solutions.

Challenges with Video and Live Video Streaming

Latency issues, bandwidth limitations and device compatibility issues have long plagued video, in particular live video streaming, preventing viewers from experiencing seamless video streaming. Higher resolution videos and the need for larger bandwidth have presented new challenges, which will only be exacerbated as the number of consumers watching online video continues to increase. Huge amounts of data need to be delivered, which can lead to latency and reliability problems, leading to streaming lags or video dropping out entirely. Video providers also need to ensure that video streams reach all different types of device. Issues of unpredictability of demand add to the challenges of developing the right infrastructure to handle the many varying conditions of video streaming.

Varnish’s Caching Expertise

Caching has been proven to improve QoE by at least 30%. Varnish is known for its pioneering work in caching and its flexible caching engine. Web caching involves saving a local copy of responses to incoming content requests so that it can be quickly served to clients that later request the same content. This saves backend servers from experiencing overload, making content delivery considerably quicker and improving the overall web experience.

Varnish Streaming Server and Latest Breakthroughs

The Varnish Streaming Server has been delivering streaming live, OTT and VoD content for many of the world’s top companies for years, including Sky, Eurosport, Twitch and Tesla. In its publicity, while highlighting the capacity to scale out its new service offers, Varnish describes seven key benefits to using Varnish Streaming Server:

  • Backend protection through offloading up to 99% of live streaming requests
  • Seamless reliable user experience
  • Scalability, up-time and availability are guaranteed even at peak times (up to 100x increase in delivery efficiency over 1Gbit and 10Gbit technology)
  • Flexible configuration for specific delivery needs
  • End-to-end security and cache encryption
  • Lower costs on data transfer
  • 24/7 customer support

Varnish Streaming Server also offers a huge data store, allowing its customers to store over 100+TB.

With the new speed of 100Gbit video streaming delivery, the Varnish Streaming Server is able to deliver streaming infrastructure at “a faster rate and capacity than the market has previously realized”. The 100Gbit/second certification acts as a guarantee to Varnish Software customers that they will receive 100Gbit/second per server, TLS-based, outbound video delivery. According to Varnish, this can involve a tenfold or even hundredfold increase in delivery efficiency over present-day offerings of 10Gbit and 1Gbit technology.

The biggest innovation to 100Gbit technology is its demonstrable potential to scale out, a clear benefit in the current era of exponential growth in streaming traffic.

By optimizing hardware and cutting down on architectural inefficiencies to guarantee this scalability, there is no need to extend or build new data centers to deliver video streaming. As Varnish’s Erika Wolfe notes in a recent blog, “As an example, if you originally set out to have 400Gb capacity in your data center, and each server is 10Gb, you need 40 servers. With 100Gbit, you would only need 4. Maybe your goal isn’t to get down to 4 servers but rather to 10 or 15 servers – and know that this 1.5TB capacity – enough to serve half of the United States – would more than meet your current and future capacity needs while paring down the infrastructure considerably. Ultimately a less expensive, more efficient and easier-to-maintain solution.”

By taking an open caching approach to scalability rather than the building of new services, there are obviously big economic implications. At Mark Fisher’s presentation back at the Content Delivery Summit in New York in 2016, Fisher discussed the work of the Streaming Video Alliance (of which he is a member), on open caching. According to Fisher, it is possible to generate significant OTT unit cost reduction through the delivery of video from an open caching layer in ISP networks as a way of optimizing quality of experience. When comparing open caching to the traditional method of scaling, Fisher said this could approximate around $1 billion savings over a five-year period.

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