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In the Limelight Blog

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At Limelight, we’re proud of the accomplishments we’ve made over the years in improving our bottom line while reducing our carbon footprint. These accomplishments are great for us, and they’re important to customers because we can provide better service and support while also protecting the environment.

 

While I’m thrilled with the financial performance of our company, I’m equally as proud of the fact we’ve been able to achieve these results while being an environmentally conscious company.

 

To-date, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by a phenomenal 21%—an all-time high for Limelight. While that reduction in itself is significant, we’ve achieved these results while growing our network reach by more than 60% and increasing the number of markets we serve by over 15%

 

Through our continued efforts, we estimate that we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by more than 3 metric tons! That’s enough capacity to power 400 households for a year or Stowe Vermont’s entire population of 4,000 for a month

 

The best news is that our desire to be greener is still strong—and we have multiple projects in progress across our geographies that will make even more significant contributions to lower our carbon footprint. 

 

Stay tuned for more!

Content Delivery has become a required strategy for many online services. From fast loading web pages to media streaming, CDNs can accelerate content downloads, making sites more engaging and more useful. But a user has to first be able to reach the CDN and for that to happen you need DNS.

 

Although CDNs get resources much closer to users on average than a data center or hosting site, there is always the public internet to traverse between the user’s home network, typically their ISP, and the edge of the CDN network. Many times, access across these paths can experience issues that slow down access to the CDN or block connection all together.  No problem is as pervasive and affecting as Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks, which fill up a network with query traffic that prevents “good” traffic from getting through to the CDN.

 

All paths between users and CDNs are established by a combination of CDN IP addresses and the ISP’s choice of transit vendors. The CDN’s IP addresses live in DNS tables and each ISP accesses DNS information to determine where the user is to be sent.  With CDNs, a lot of the dynamic nature of the solution is within the CDN infrastructure, but access to that infrastructure comes from the DNS lookup.  So, the relationship between a CDN’s architecture and policies and the DNS architecture and management becomes increasingly important.

 

When a DDoS attack occurs, DNS lookups can become very slow or even not available.  No DNS response means that the user can’t be connected to the CDN.   So, no matter how efficient the CDN network itself is, no access means no service.

 

A top-notch DDoS solution can limit the impact of DDoS events on CDNs in the following ways:

  1. Advanced, cloud-based DNS solutions use a distributed nameserver network (Anycast) where all nameservers respond to DNS queries. This means that if you can geographically limit an attack to a small part of the DNS infrastructure, the rest of the network can still respond with consistency and performance.
  2. Large, well managed cloud-based DNS solutions can absorb pretty big chunks of volumetric data and still have room to process valid traffic. This is especially true of DNS solutions that use multiple Tier 1 transit at multiple global POPs with large connection pipes.
  3. Using multiple DNS networks that work together to access CDNs can also be an effective approach by using a common nameserver pool (secondary DNS). If one set of DNS nameservers isn’t available, the other DNS solution very well may be unaffected and carry on the DNS functions without significant effect to consistency and performance.

 

So, it’s clear that DNS solutions can have an important impact on managed DDoS attacks that can affect availability, security and performance. Adding other DDoS protection services like DDoS scrubber sites, can also add effective ways of absorbing and filtering very large volumes of DDoS generated traffic to keep your business up and running. These services carry additional costs and often introduce more latency than a DDoS mitigating DNS solution.  But in the battle against ever-increasing DDoS attacks, a combination of multiple, highly effective DNS and DDoS scrubber site solutions should be seriously considered.


By Thibaud Regeard , Limelight Solutions Engineer

 

This article is the first out of three articles diving into the world of video streaming, and the challenges of providing a user experience that is consistent with the very nature of live content.


Why is that? You might have experienced watching a live soccer game through your favorite OTT app or website, enjoying smooth quality and cheering for your team getting closer and closer to the opponent goalkeeper… Then suddenly you hear your neighbor screaming, notifications are popping up on your phone: “GGGOOOAAALLL!!!” Wait, there is no such goal… Oh, there it is! 30 seconds later, you see it happen and all the fun is ruined. Does that ring a bell?

 

 

Latency is a term that is commonly used throughout the Internet. Something that is related to your connection with remote content servers and can make or break your experience with online content. Low latency makes sure that users can enjoy it to the fullest, and this is especially true when facing time-critical content, be it online gaming or gambling, live auction, security feed monitoring, or live video streaming.

 

So what exactly is it when we talk about Latency? A term often measured in milliseconds, latency - for the purposes of discussing delivery of online video -  is defined as the average total time that is takes the internet, or a content delivery network, to send video to whatever device you will view it on.

 

Taking it from the definition, it’s pretty straightforward that low latency is important especially if you are experiencing online content. Low latency can be impacted by many factors: the type of internet connection, your router/switch, Internet Service Provider, number of users, or the distance between your computer and the server. While a fair amount depends on the state of the network and the route used to reach the content, we will focus today on the inherent latency created by the technology layer used to bring the content online.

 

How live broadcasters can improve their speed

 

Time is money. Whether it’s high frequency financial trading or live content streaming, you want to reduce the time needed to transport you content from its source to your eyeballs. Distributing video content over the top has been an increased concern as it embraces a variety of use cases: you probably don’t want to learn about the latest touchdown on a live broadcast BEFORE you actually see it happen on Twitter? For scenarios like this, you would probably appreciate, if your security team would have video monitoring feeds closer to real-time in order to deal with disruptions or criminal activities.

 

For this kind of audience, low latency streaming is not only a nice-to-have it is also a necessity. Latency dictates the delay between the live event as it is happening, compared to when the video or audio appears on the device you are using.  Key audiences who can benefit from low latency video are:

 

  • Gambling and gaming users – get news before the odds change
  • Financial organizations – getting the breaking news first can mean being ahead of the markets
  • News organizations – breaking the news first
  • Live Broadcasters – reducing the delay of a live event when viewed across multiple devices
  • Auctions - no point in being too late!
  • Security monitoring – being able to react on time can save lives or valuable assets!

 

The end of Flash technology?

 

For years now, many companies have relied on RTMP (Real Time Delivery Protocol developed by Adobe and mostly used along with Flash) delivery for their streaming business. They needed the low-latency aspect of RTMP delivery, as HTTP-based live streams have larger overhead for playlist and video segmentation, which can delay live playback for almost a minute. This type of latency is not acceptable for real-time communication such as live auction feeds or video chat.

Did you know that Facebook Live uses RTMP in its mobile apps to push a live stream out to its CDN? Anyone who is streaming live content is very likely using RTMP to push the video feed.


The Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) was designed for transmission of audio, video, and data between Adobe Flash Platform technologies, including Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. Companies who rely on the Flash plug-in for desktop browsers are becoming less, as most of the big web companies like Google, Mozilla, Apple and Microsoft are already pulling the plug on Flash, phasing out its support in their most recent browsers.


In most of these live-streaming scenarios, the Flash plug-in is not necessarily used in a desktop browser though. RTMP can be used as a transport in a mobile or desktop application without requiring the Flash plug-in.
So Flash is still there, flexing its muscle where the action is and keeping the data moving when there isn’t room for processing delays. Despite all its shortcomings, we must acknowledge that Flash can be better than the competition in some use cases.

 

While some CDN vendors have already shutdown their RTMP capacity, Limelight still maintains RTMP endpoints for ingesting live streams. In most of these live-streaming scenarios, though, the Flash plug-in is not necessarily used in a desktop browser. RTMP can be used as a transport in a mobile or desktop application without requiring the Flash plug-in.
As the popularity and footprint of Flash declines, RTMP delivery is expected to fall off and eventually be replaced by optimized HTTP delivery.

If you're delivering online video, websites, file downloads, games or e-commerce, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. Investigate 7 keys to a critical component of your online content: its digital source. As vital as this digital source is, many organizations don't fully understand it, and many take it for granted -- at their own peril.

 

 

Examination at the Source

Today's online audience expects instant response -- and they'll go elsewhere if they don't get it. Knowing this, you may already be using or considering a content delivery network (CDN). But you probably know far less about the source that feeds the CDN: origin storage. Learning more can make a big difference.   

 

 

 

 

Done wrong, CDN origin storage can waste valuable resources, time, effort and money -- only to deliver bad user experience -- and you might not even know it. 

 

Done right, CDN origin storage doesn’t take a lot of your team’s time and resources, dramatically improves user experience, and can even save you money.

 

 

Want to learn more? 

 

7 Qualities that are Revolutionizing CDN Origin Storage + "Ask the Expert"
 Choose a video:

 

Watch free video -- Americas version (from USA) 

Kyle Carpenter, Americas Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Watch free video -- EMEA version (from Europe) 

Kerrion Burton Evans, EMEA Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Both videos feature:

  • What CDN origin storage is, and why you should care about it
  • 7 qualities that are revolutionizing CDN origin storage
  • Just released capabilities in Limelight Origin Storage that make it a game-changer for your team, your audience and your bottom line
  • How Limelight’s high-performance Origin Storage is able to deliver 92-200 percent faster than cloud storage solutions*
  • "Ask the Expert" session

 

For more information, you can also explore CDN Origin Storage on Limelight's website. 

 At Limelight, we’re focused on putting experience first.  Last week, we announced significant new performance and functionality advancements to the Limelight Orchestrate Platform that improve online experiences regardless of a user’s connection type or speed or when network conditions are variable or changing.  For video distribution customers, this means significant reductions to the percentage of video streams experiencing rebuffering—without requiring any client side code. 

 

Production data from Limelight customers shows:

 

  • 33% reduction in SD (480p) video sessions experiencing rebuffers in the US
  • 25% reduction in HD (1080p) video sessions experiencing rebuffers in the US
  • 41% reduction in video sessions experiencing rebuffers for mobile devices in an emerging market

 

Why are rebuffer rates so important to online video providers?  Data from Limelight’s latest State of Online Video Market Research shows rebuffering is the primary frustration of online video viewers.  In fact, 46% of viewers will stop watching a video if it rebuffers twice, and 78% will abandon the video if it rebuffers three times. 

 

 

 

Rebuffering has a clear impact on a viewer’s perceived Quality of Experience (QoE) and an online video distributor’s profitability.  That is why the largest and most successful online video providers are fanatical about doing anything they can to reduce rebuffering by even the slightest amount.  The major improvements Limelight has unleashed are a game-changer.

 

THE LIMELIGHT ORCHESTRATE PLATFORM

How did Limelight accomplish this?  The short answer is by optimizing the Limelight Orchestrate Platform.  The more detailed answer requires a better understanding of the Limelight Orchestrate Platform.

 

What is the Orchestrate Platform, and how is it different from a Content Delivery Network (CDN)? 

A CDN delivers content.  There are many CDN providers.  The Orchestrate Platform provides content delivery and much more.

 

 

 

Unlike other CDNs, Limelight’s Global Infrastructure includes the largest global private network dedicated to content delivery.  Our private fiber backbone allows us to bypass the public internet for important tasks, and we only use our network to deliver your content.  Our Advanced Content Delivery Services offer industry-leading cache efficiency and delivery performance for your content.  The Global Infrastructure and Advanced Content Delivery Services form the base of the Orchestrate Platform.

 

Optional Web Acceleration, Origin Storage, Video Management, and Cloud Security Services are available to help you meet your workflow and business needs.  Control and Enablement tools make it easy to configure the Orchestrate Platform and report on your operations.  All of this is available with access to global support experts who are dedicated to your success.  

 

Let’s take a more detailed look at the Limelight Orchestrate Platform components.

 

GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The Limelight Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure spans the globe with a QoS-enabled network of over 80 Points-of-Presence (PoPs) and 22+ terabits per-second of egress capacity directly interconnected with major ISPs and last-mile networks.  The Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure is densely architected with data centers clustered around major metropolitan locations throughout the world.  Our private fiber backbone enables cache-fill traffic, dynamic content, and integrated service data to bypass the public internet and travel at high speed between Limelight POPs, providing a better QoE for your users.    

 

ADVANCED CONTENT DELIVERY

At the heart of the Limelight’s Advanced Content Delivery is EdgePrism, the advanced caching software that offers industry-leading cache efficiency.  EdgePrism cache management and operating system technologies deliver optimal performance over any network connection type or speed without requiring any special client-side code.  By continually monitoring a user’s connection and optimizing how content is delivered based upon realtime analysis, Advanced Content Delivery Services provide a superior QoE, even over mobile networks or other changing network conditions.  Unlike traditional CDN vendors who rely on third-party technologies for key components of their content delivery infrastructure, Limelight utilizes in-house development and optimization of its Advanced Content Delivery Services to ensure maximum performance. 

 

WEB ACCELERATION SERVICES

Web Acceleration Services speed up the delivery of static content like images, text and video as well as dynamic content that changes with each user. Techniques such as TCP and connection optimizations, HTTP/2 support, executing application logic at the edge, and device detection help deliver a consistently fast user experience for your websites and applications.

 

ORIGIN STORAGE SERVICES

Unlike ordinary cloud storage, Origin Storage Services are distributed throughout the Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure, placing content closer to your audiences for the best performance.  Content is automatically replicated and geographically distributed according to your requirements and served to users from the highest performing location.  Limelight Origin Storage offers the fastest delivery performance, built-in redundancy, and an automated and simplified workflow.

 

VIDEO MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Video Management Services make it easy to manage, package, and deliver both live and video on demand content.  The Limelight Video Platform is the fastest and most intuitive way to manage, publish, syndicate, measure, and monetize the distribution of online video. Limelight Multi-Device Media Delivery simplifies the process of ingesting, transmuxing, packaging, and delivering both live and on demand video to virtually any device. 

 

CLOUD SECURITY SERVICES

The Cloud Security Services provide powerful features to protect against attacks on websites and application infrastructure, and control access to content. Content is delivered on our Global Infrastructure which is 100% SSL enabled. Access to websites and content is controlled by features including geo-fencing, URL tokenization, and IP access control.  Web Application Firewall (WAF) capabilities protect web sites against malicious hacking, while Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack detection and mitigation ensures your web sites and applications remain available, even when you are under attack.

 

CONTROL AND ENABLEMENT

Control and Enablement offer both a self-service portal and a new set of API’s to configure and manage your Orchestrate Platform services. For self-service, the Limelight Control portal puts the power of the Orchestrate Platform at your fingertips making it easy to configure services.  Secure APIs are also available if you prefer to incorporate the management and reporting of CDN services into your own tools and workflows.

 

SUPPORT SERVICES

Whether it’s your initial implementation of the Limelight Orchestrate Platform or you’re responding to changing business requirements, implementing new services, or training and augmenting your staff, Limelight Support Services help you succeed.  Our global Advanced Services Architects have the experience and expertise to help you take on new challenges with confidence.  Limelight’s 24/7/365 Network Operations Center constantly monitors the Limelight Orchestrate Platform Global Infrastructure to ensure maximum uptime and efficient traffic operations.

 

A PLATFORM TO SOLVE ALL YOUR CONTENT DELIVERY CHALLENGES

Limelight’s ongoing investment in the Orchestrate Platform means you can solve your most important content delivery challenges today and in the future.  So, whether you are delivering on-demand or streaming video, software files, games, or an entire website, the Limelight Orchestrate Platform helps you deliver the next great digital experience anywhere. 

At Limelight, we’re passionate about helping our customers create the world’s best content experiences. That might sound cliché coming from a Marketing guy (although in my defense, I’m an engineer by education and background!), but at Limelight everyone really is focused on one thing above all else – delivering a great experience for our customers and their customers. To us, “Experience First” isn’t a tagline – it’s a mission statement. It’s who we are. It’s in our DNA. 

 

Today’s digital audiences are increasingly sensitive to poor performance. For example, our consumer research shows the number of users that would abandon a poor performing website jumped from 51 percent to 64 percent in the last year, and almost 80 percent of viewers will stop watching a video if it rebuffers three times. As one of our video streaming customers said: “Content may be king, but the speed of the delivery and the quality of the experience are just as important.”

 

You can read a lot about product innovation, or network expansion or efficiency gains in the blogs on this site. But at the end of the day all of this work is for the express purpose of helping our customers to deliver exceptional online experiences. So it’s incredibly inspiring and energizing when we hear customers say things like, “Limelight takes the worry out of delivering the best experience possible to our audience. We have more customers and happier customers because of Limelight.” (Coach Guitar)

 

Our customers have amazing ideas, and we love to collaborate to turn those dreams into reality. Whether delivering experiences that cross boundaries and borders, like one customer who provides medical education to professionals around the world that might not have had access to that information otherwise. Or another customer who uses experiences to build community by delivering native content to expats living abroad. We love to be a part of stories like this because delivering exceptional experiences can have a tremendous impact.

 

One of the things I love most about my job is talking with customers. And something I hear pretty consistently is that customers appreciate this level of collaboration and the experience of partnering with Limelight. The sentiment is reflected in statements like, "Limelight has genuine interest in helping Napster enhance its service, and is willing to work with us on innovative solutions…They are easy to work with and very responsive.” (Napster).

 

In their book Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff assert that your brand is what customers say it is. Our customers have told us that experience comes first for the digital audiences they serve, and that there’s something different about the experience in working with a partner like Limelight. That conviction reinforces our commitment to continue to put the experience of our customers, and their customers, first.

 

If you have questions or want to share your Limelight experience, please feel free to comment on this blog post. 

 

Experience First

I invite you to learn more about a hidden gem of digital content delivery.

 

Two free sessions, May 18 from Europe and May 24 from the Americas. Includes access to recordings.

                 

 

If you're delivering online video, audio, files, websites, games or e-commerce, you're probably using a content delivery network (CDN). If you're not using a CDN yet, you probably will. Today's online audience expects nothing less than instant response, and they'll go elsewhere if they don't get it.  

 

In this free webinar and "Ask-the-Expert" Q&A session, we'll explore a less-well-understood yet critical component of CDNs. It's called origin storage, and it's where you store the content that feeds your delivery system. I know it sounds simple, but there's more to it than meets the eye.   


Done wrong, CDN origin storage can waste valuable resources, time, effort and money -- only to deliver bad user experience -- and you might not even know it. 

Done right, CDN origin storage doesn’t take a lot of your team’s time and resources, dramatically improves user experience, and can even save you money.

You owe it to yourself to learn about this hidden gem!

 

We're planning to pack tons of information into 30 minutes or less, then open up the floor to your questions. We trust you'll find it useful and informative, and invite you to join us for either session. You'll get access to both the live webinar and the recording, plus extra information for free download.

 

 

Free Registration
7 Qualities that are Revolutionizing CDN Origin Storage + "Ask the Expert"
Please choose a session:

 

Thurs May 18 

From Europe

13:00 GMT = 9:00 AM EST = 22:00 JST/KST

Kerrion Burton Evans, EMEA Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Wed May 24 

From Americas

11:00 AM PST = 2:00 PM EST = 18:00 GM

Kyle Carpenter, Americas Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

During each session, we will explore:

  • What CDN origin storage is, and why you should care about it
  • 7 qualities that are revolutionizing CDN origin storage
  • Just released capabilities in Limelight Origin Storage that make it a game-changer for your team, your audience and your bottom line
  • How Limelight’s high-performance Origin Storage is able to deliver 92-200 percent faster than cloud storage solutions*
  • "Ask the Expert" session

 

 

I hope you can join us! More information here:

 

Two free sessions, May 18 from Europe and May 24 from the Americas. Includes access to recordings.

 

 

Charlie Russell

 

mmilligan

Video Takes on Vegas

Posted by mmilligan Apr 24, 2017

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  For those of us immersed in the video industry, April is when we get a preview from broadcast and media equipment vendors of their new wares at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.  For manufacturers, it’s a mad scramble to make sure new products are working (or least make it look like they work so they can be demonstrated).  For attendees, there is a lot of walking around the Las Vegas Convention Center during the day (and pursuing other Vegas offerings at night).  NAB has become the one-stop shop for learning about the latest technologies and trends in the video industry and deciding how to spend your capital budget during the rest of the year.

 

ANALOG ORIGINS

My first trip to the NAB Show was in 1990 in Atlanta, back before it found its permanent home in Las Vegas.  The industry was on the cusp of moving from pure analog technology to starting to implement digital solutions.  Companies such as AMPEX (remember them?) had huge booths filled with eager buyers.  I worked for a small startup at the time that was pioneering digital video editing.  I was envious of the big companies like AMPEX with their flashy hardware solutions.  That envy didn’t last long.

 

 

THE FIRST DIGITAL WAVE

After that, the first wave of “digital solutions” came along.  Companies like Abekas had huge booths filled with amazing digital solutions that seemed to mimic what the hardware vendors did, but offered greater flexibility and creativity.  In effect, they were doing what had already been done, but with digital technology.  The technology was interesting, but not necessarily compelling.

 

LOCAL WORKFLOWS

It wasn’t until vendors started delivering solutions that fundamentally changed the content creation and production process that digital technology finally took hold.  The breakthrough came with the ability to store media in digital form, allowing multiple people in the same facility to easily collaborate during the content creation process.  Multiple editors could seamlessly work together on the same television show or feature film.  Journalists had quick access to any media at the station, making it easier and faster to update news stories as they developed.  Suddenly, everyone in your facility could easily be involved in the content creation process.  This changed how people worked.

 

REMOTE COLLABORATION

The next wave extended those siloed workflows to include people in remote locations.  Fortunately, networking technology and the internet were getting faster.  Users were able to transfer or FTP media to someone in a remote location.   A collaborator in a remote location could access proxies and low-resolution versions of media stored in a different location.  Journalists in the field were able to view media at the station.  It was finally realistic to purchase enough bandwidth for media to be shared across long-distances.  The geographic barriers that hampered collaboration fell.

 

MOVING TO THE CLOUD

The next big disruption is underway.  “The Cloud” is fundamentally changing how and where content is created.  We have the ability for people to access media from anywhere, so why do we still need to build big centralized production centers?  Why can’t the media and the media production services be virtualized or live in the cloud?  The technology to fully virtualize the content creation process is here, although it may not all fit together as easily as we would have hoped (as the rollout of SMPTE 2022 and SMPTE 2110 have shown).  However, it’s easy to see the demise of large centralized content production facilities is not that far away.

 

OTT TAKES HOLD

So, what’s next?  Just as the content creation process has moved to a virtualized IP infrastructure, the content distribution process is also moving “over the top”.  It is easier than ever for viewers to find content that appeals to them and stream it on demand.  No longer do you need to wait for something to be “broadcast” to enjoy it.  It is always available 24/7.  Even live events are increasingly streamed online.  Most major sporting events are now available anywhere on the device of your choice. 

 

The final barrier to full adoption of online streaming is available bandwidth to ensure a “broadcast-quality” viewing experience.  With the speed of consumer broadband and mobile connections increasing, consumers are beginning to enjoy even 4K streaming media at home.  However, the core “Internet” doesn’t yet have enough bandwidth to support a major event like the Super Bowl where you might have more than 100 million Americans simultaneously streaming high-resolution video.  That day is still a little way away.  However, there are solutions available today to guarantee a great online viewing experience. 

 

 

PUTTING VIEWER EXPERIENCE FIRST

Limelight Networks helps content distributors deliver the best online viewing experiences.  The Limelight Orchestrate Platform includes a natively integrated online video platform, storage and security.  With a QoS-enabled network of over 80 Points-of-Presence (PoPs) and 21+ terabits per-second of egress capacity directly interconnected with major ISPs and last-mile networks, the Limelight Orchestrate Platform has the speed, capacity, and availability to support the largest global events, wherever your viewers are located.  Limelight delivers the world’s largest events.

 

At NAB 2017, Limelight has been meeting with companies to talk about how to best deliver the next great video experience.  If you are at the show, please stop by booth SU10714 to talk to our video technology experts.  Because at Limelight, we are dedicated to enabling you to create the world’s best content experiences anywhere.

We are days away from the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, one of the largest events dedicated to all things broadcasting. Being a Las Vegas show, the metrics are huge – 103,000 attendees from 150+ countries, 1,700 press, 1,500 exhibitors, 1 million square feet of exhibit space, and 700 educational sessions according to the show program guide.

                          

This is all a bit overwhelming from an attendee perspective, so I’ve scoped out the trends to watch will be, reviewed session descriptions to select which to attend, and looked at the exhibitor list and demo pavilions to plan my show floor activity. Keeping in mind my keen interested on online video experiences and my product marketing focus on Limelight’s video services, here are the areas I find of particular interest  at NAB this year:

 

Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion

Camera-carrying drones are in common usage for so many industries, delivering content from on high. The pavilion will have dynamic exhibitor demonstrations built to give an up-close look at the latest technology in action, and how broadcasters can best deploy aerial cameras to enhance the viewing options for their audience.

 

                           

                         

Cyber Security and Content Protection Pavilion

This pavilion will feature the leading companies securing digital assets today, and working to counter the increasingly more sophisticated cyber threats in the future. The broad range of video distribution technologies means more opportunities for theft of valuable content. 4K and HDR video will be prime targets for pirating, as this is premium content that subscribers pay more for, and will justify higher ad monetization fees.

 

Virtual and Augmented Reality Pavilion

The AR VR Pavilion will feature companies changing the way information is consumed. The latest AR and VR software and equipment will be available for demo and hands on experience. I expect big improvements in VR displays over what I experienced with last year’s underwhelming demos.

 

4K and HDR TV

4K broadcasting is gaining traction with sporting events, and some OTT services are making movie content available in 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR). The progress in HDR standards, as the multiple incompatible HDR schemes will slow market adoption of this game changing technology will be interesting.  Besides checking out the latest TVs, new developments in 4K broadcasting infrastructure – cameras, production equipment, network services, etc. will be center stage.

 

               

 

NAB Futures Park

This showcase features demonstrations of media developments in progress and products not yet available to the market from academic and commercial research labs in the US and around the world.

 

SPROCKIT and StartUp Loft                                                

Market-ready startups beginning to form partnerships are showcased In SPROCKIT, and the StartUp Loft  gathers newly created companies in the broadcast industry. Attendees can get a first look at their product and service offerings.

 

Limelight at the Show

We will be talking about new enhancements to video delivery services including:

  • DRM support for content protection
  • Low latency chunked streaming for live events
  • Live to VOD recording for subsequent use as VOD content
  • Live streaming from mobile devices directly to Limelight live streaming delivery

All these enhancements ensure the delivery of consistent high-quality digital experiences. Visit us to talk about these new video capabilities and our full video delivery solutions at the NAB show in the South Hall Upper booth #SU10714.

 

More to come

During NAB I will be blogging from the exhibit hall about significant findings and really cool demonstrations. After the show, I will blog a summary of impressions of the standout technologies and new trends on the horizon.   Stay tuned!

Webinar: 7 Qualities that are Revolutionizing CDN Origin Storage

 

Find out what CDN origin storage is, why you should care about it, and how it can save your business money and resources.

 

North America: May 9 at 2 PM EST. 

Register >

 

EMEA: May 18 at 9 AM EST.

Register >

Hacking, debilitating DDoS attacks and data theft continue to escalate in frequency and scope.  In a blog on April 14, I discussed the challenges of ensuring websites and associated origins are protected from cyber threats. Today, I’m excited to reveal new online security capabilities and existing services to solve these challenges.

 

Solutions for Scalable Protection

Today Limelight introduced two new additions to our Cloud Security Services that enhance protection against attacks on websites and unauthorized access or theft of data. Deployed together with existing security services, the new enhancements provide a scalable approach to protecting web servers and applications:

 

  •      Limelight Security Alert provides active DDoS attack detection and alerting of malicious activity against websites and application domains. Customers’ content delivery services are configured to minimize the surface of attack exposed to the Internet and to ensure the defensive protection of Limelight’s network is deployed effectively. This service is available for free to Limelight Premier and Enterprise customers.

 

  •      Limelight WAF Express includes the Security Alert capabilities as well as simple-to-implement, efficient, effective, and affordable web application security for organizations that may not have implemented security measures due to cost. It offers protection from web application attacks using OWASP 10 Rules, rate limiting, and access control. WAF Express customers can upgrade to fully featured WAF protection which includes all Security Alert and WAF Express capabilities, and adds custom WAF filter rules, activity dashboards, and 24/7 Operations Center monitoring.

 

The above new services complement Limelight’s platform security measures and DDoS Attack Interceptor available to our CDN users:

  • Defensive Protection—Passive attack mitigation via our massive CDN 
  • SSL / HTTPS Delivery—Deliver digital assets securely via the largest SSL global footprint
  •       Geo Fencing—Control access based on geolocation
  •       MediaVault—Tokenization-based video streaming access control
  •       CORS Management—Allow multiple content sources while restricting sharing to designated origin
  •       IP Whitelisting and Blacklisting—Control access based on IP addresses
  •       DDoS Attack Interceptor—Detect and mitigate attacks against websites

 

To Learn More

Want to learn more about how Limelight’s Cloud Security Services can protect your business?  Defense details are available here.

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations today is ensuring websites and associated origins are protected from cyberattacks.  The frequency and sophistication of attacks are increasing as well as the duration. Yet many organizations do not have the security protections in place to defend themselves. Typically this is due to budget constraints or the perception that they haven’t been impacted by attacks. In this blog, top challenges will be identified, to be followed early next week with the unveiling of new security solutions that solve these challenges.

 

Top Challenges

There are numerous challenges to keep E-commerce sites available for business and secure from cyber threats such as theft of consumer data:

  •      DDoS Attacks – These are the biggest threats against web server infrastructure. Over 50% of organizations experienced an attack in the past year according to the Bluecoat cyber threat defense report. The top verticals that come under attack are financial institutions and online retailing. The availability of hacking tools such as the Marai botnet, which is in the public domain and comes with a database of compromised IoT devices, makes launching an attack too easy.     Web Application Attacks – The goal of web app attacks is not to make websites unavailable, but to breach security measures and gain access to consumer data such as credit card data. Another motive is to compromise web apps and demand ransom money to unlock the apps.
  •      Theft of Content – Unauthorized access to licensed content or intellectual property can result in theft of VOD files and violations of content licensing agreements.
  •       Performance – Many security measures can negatively impact the performance of user’s interactions with web applications. Sacrificing performance for security is not an acceptable strategy.
  •      Site Access – Controlling access to your website is a key defensive measure – but how do you keep bad actors out, while welcoming authorized guests?

 

Stay Tuned

Early next week I will reveal exciting new security capabilities that address all these challenges. Don’t miss it! See you back here shortly.

This week, Limelight announced updates and new capabilities for its industry-leading origin storage solution for CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) -- including 25GB of free storage for new customers and many existing customers.  Let’s drill down on some of Limelight’s announcements.

 

Focus on CDN Origin Storage

Companies that deliver great user experience understand the value of origin storage – whether it’s for video-on-demand, file distribution, web acceleration, gaming or e-commerce. Origin storage is where content delivery networks (CDNs) go to retrieve files that aren’t in edge cache. Some have tried using ordinary general-purpose cloud storage as their origin storage, but with mixed results. The user experience can be unpredictable, and too often underwhelming. And the time and resource burdens on the company can be significant, whether it’s manual management, or custom-developing CDN-specific features. 

 

Limelight has a better way, offering a rich CDN origin storage solution as a service. With high-performance storage sites around the world, collocated with edge cache devices and egress to ISP’s, interconnected by a high-speed private fiber network, Limelight Origin Storage Services is one of the largest, fastest cloud storage solutions in the world.

 

And it’s the best at one thing: delivering content.

 

To reflect this focus, Limelight Cloud Storage Services have now been renamed Limelight Origin Storage Services.  The new name sharpens the focus and value on content delivery, where origin storage plays such a critical role.

 

Now let’s look at the groundbreaking new feature set just announced.

 

 

Listen to Your Customers, Then Please Them – All Automatically

If you’re a company with content to deliver, it’s a critical question: What content does your audience value? And wouldn’t it be great if you could automatically accelerate the exact content your audience values? Not by analyzing historical data, not with time-consuming polls, not by guesswork – but completely automatically.

 

That’s exactly what Limelight’s unique new Intelligent Ingest does in Load On Demand mode. Each time a user requests content that isn’t in the CDN, it’s automatically retrieved from current origin and delivered – and also stored in Limelight Origin Storage for future requests. You have controls like the ability to specify maximum concurrency and bandwidth. Other than that, set it and forget it – audience popularity determines which content migrates to accelerated Origin Storage.

 

The other mode of Intelligent Ingest, Manifest Upload mode, automates upload based on a list of content you provide. You can migrate all your content, or just selected portion of it, with control over total migration time and rate of ingest up to 10 TB/day.

 

Consistently Deliver Industry-Best Performance

Limelight Origin Storage is a distributed object-based storage system, which is tightly integrated with the Limelight private CDN and optimized for superior content delivery. From January 1 to March 23, 2017, public data from independent real user measurement solution Cedexis shows Limelight Origin Storage is 92 percent faster on average than cloud storage offerings. Internal Limelight testing has shown performance improvements of up to 200 percent for specific customer workflows.

 

Automatic High Availability at No Extra Charge

Recently, an estimated 150,000 websites, applications, and business-critical software stopped working properly for several hours. The impact was significant in lost dollars, lost audience trust, and more. The problem was caused by a network service outage in one regional location, yet it had massive global impact. Why? Lack of multi-regional redundancy with the ability to fail over on retrieval.

 

Limelight ensures high availability -- and high performance -- in two critical ways, automatically.

 

Automatic Replication. On ingest, at no extra cost, Limelight automatically creates multiple redundant copies close to your audience. Just choose from a menu of regional policies based on where your audience is located.

 

Automatic Best-Site Retrieval with Failover. On retrieval, Limelight automatically fetches from the fastest site, and redirects from slow or offline sites without the user even knowing anything is amiss. Ordinary cloud storage services don’t offer such automation.

 

Exceptional Multi-CDN Performance

Increasingly, companies are using multiple CDNs to deliver their content. Limelight’s unique globally connected approach gives multi-CDN customers exceptional Origin Storage performance, availability and automated workflow for all their CDNs. Customers don’t just get fast distributed storage; they get the full benefit of Limelight’s’ global private-fiber CDN to transport the content for handoff to the selected CDN. It’s ideal as the primary or backup origin for any delivery service or CDN.

 

Experience the Benefits Yourself

And so, the best just got better. With Limelight Origin Storage Services and new Intelligent Ingest, you can easily add new content, monitor usage, manage the lifecycle, and deliver an exceptional customer experience every time.

 

To encourage everyone to experience the benefits of Limelight Origin Storage Services, Limelight is now offering 25GB of free storage to all new customers and current Content Delivery customers who do not currently use Limelight storage. More details are available at the Limelight Origin Storage web page.

Our digital lives increasingly depend not just on our devices, but on the networks and cloud services behind the scenes. People use and enjoy these services and take them for granted -- until there’s a disruption. When outages occur and people feel the impact, the failure of technology takes center stage. With recent attention to high-impact outages, let’s take a moment to talk about the topic, and how companies can easily protect themselves.

 

What happens with outages and their impacts?

There are two answers to this question. One answer doesn’t matter; the other answer makes all the difference.

 

It doesn’t matter what caused any particular outage. Outages happen. Network outages have been caused by equipment problems, power failures, human error, weather, fire, vandalism and squirrels. It’s inevitable that outages will continue to happen.

 

What does matter is that it’s easy to dramatically reduce or prevent the negative user impact. In one recent case for example, a network service outage occurred in one regional location, yet it had massive global impact. Why? Lack of multi-regional redundancy. The service provider didn’t offer an easy, cost-effective option to replicate data to multiple regions. The websites that eventually suffered relied on one service site with no failover. When that one site went down, the websites failed to deliver for an extended period of time.

 

No Extra Cost: Buttons, Belt, and Suspenders

Limelight is leading the way in protecting digital companies and user experience. At no extra cost, Limelight Origin Storage Services automate redundancy on both upload and download. When companies upload content, Limelight streamlines your operations with automated replication to multiple sites. When users download the content, Limelight ensures fastest delivery with automated performance testing and failover to the fastest site. Because it’s automated, it’s easy and nearly foolproof. By contrast, some cloud storage providers charge hefty fees to replicate to different regions, and don’t offer automatic replication or failover. Unfortunately, their customers can suffer severe business impact as a result.

 

With Limelight, even if one storage site were to suffer a similar outage, users would never even know that anything was amiss. Behind the scenes, Limelight would automatically switch to another site that has the data, and deliver. 

 

For companies, setup is a simple one-time selection of policies based on where your audience is. For example, if your audience is global, you can choose a policy that replicates content to storage sites in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific. If your audience is mostly in the United States, the US policy replicates to multiple sites around the country. And yes, you can have different policies for different content libraries, and you can change policies any time.

 

In the future, whenever you upload new content, Limelight will automatically replicate it with multi-site redundancy to the regions you specified.

 

When your audience requests content that needs to be retrieved from origin storage, Limelight ensures delivery.  First, the system tests the redundant origin storage sites to see which responds fastest. Usually, the closest site wins and delivers the content. But what if the closest site is experiencing problems? Whether it’s simply slow delivery, or a regional outage, your audience will usually never know. Limelight’s system will automatically determine the fastest redundant site and deliver from there.

 

Do you have a multi-CDN strategy? Whether you use multiple Content Delivery Networks (CDN) or Limelight’s CDN, you’ll enjoy high availability, performance and automation. Limelight Origin Storage Services can be configured to act as primary or backup origin to all your CDN’s. While the best end-to-end performance will generally use the Limelight CDN, rest assured that your best practices and risk diversification are supported.

 

Finally, Limelight offers the best support in the industry with knowledgeable experts available 24/7/365. Some cloud storage providers do not offer live support, requiring customers to rely on email to address critical situations.

 

Limelight Origin Storage Services were specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of delivering digital content anywhere in the world, with the highest performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness.  Make sure you know the facts when choosing this critical component of your web infrastructure.  And most of all, be sure not to have a single point of failure.  Outages don’t need to happen to your business.

While e-commerce was once just about duplicating the in-store experience, today it has evolved into so much more. Retailers are now expected to deliver fast, personalized shopping experiences featuring rich media and video on any device wherever and whenever the customer chooses. These changes have introduced a host of challenges for retailers, but they also offer significant opportunities to improve customer conversion and retention.

 

 

Scalability & Availability

Unfortunately, customer demand fluctuates throughout the year.  The holiday shopping rush or the release of a hot new item may cause customer demand and the strain on your web infrastructure to spike.  Meeting these spikes in demand makes the difference between capitalizing on the opportunity or losing potential revenue.  In addition, unplanned downtime can significantly impact sales as customers may not wait for your site to come back online and decide to purchase elsewhere instead. 

 

Your infrastructure needs to scale on demand to help support these spikes in traffic.  It also needs to be redundant and geographically dispersed to overcome any potential issues or outages in a specific location. A recent outage of Amazon’s S3 cloud storage in a single location in Virginia impacted 54 of the top 100 US retailers according to the web monitoring company Apica.  Companies that stored all of their content in that single location were not able to serve their customers.  The financial impact to these retailers was significant.  When deciding how to improve your e-commerce infrastructure, choose a partner such as Limelight who provides cost-free replication of all your web content in multiple locations and will serve content to your customers from the fastest location.  This ensures optimal customer experiences and insulates you from failures of any portion of your content delivery infrastructure.

 

Performance

Recent consumer research by Limelight Networks shows 21% of consumers will abandon a website if pages take 3 seconds or longer to load.  A report from Soasta found a 100-millisecond delay in load time can bring down conversion rates by up to 7%.  Customers are increasingly expecting faster online shopping experiences.

 

Your content delivery infrastructure must have the scalability and reach to quickly serve customers from locations that are as close as possible to the customer.  Caching of static content such as product images can significantly improve page-load times.  In addition, middle-mile acceleration and support for the latest protocols such as HTTP/2 can greatly improve web performance.  Another important consideration for ensuring the fastest online e-commerce experience is to choose a partner who has high cache efficiency for delivering static content, can serve content from multiple locations or quickly access cached content from another location, and the ability to optimize the delivery of content to a customer’s browser.

 

Omnichannel

Customers are increasingly using mobile devices to make online purchases.  comScore reported mobile commerce grew 44% during the 2016 holiday shopping period.  Adobe reported mobile phones accounted for 36% of online shopping during the 2016 Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping weekend.  Customers are increasingly using both mobile devices and desktop computers to perform research before making a purchase on the device of their choice or even in-store.   

 

Customers expect a high-quality shopping experience on any connected device.  A recent survey by Limelight Networks shows 50% of consumers expect web pages to load just as fast on a mobile device as on desktop or laptop. When choosing a content delivery partner, make sure they provide a high-quality experience for customers, regardless of the device type they are using.  Capabilities such as Device identification with configurable actions based on results lets you customize content by device and accelerate site performance on mobile phones, tablets, PCs—virtually any type of device.

 

Security

Malicious hacking, cyber-attacks, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have accelerated in frequency and scope.  The NTT Group's 2016 Global Threat Intelligence Report indicates the retail industry faces more attacks than any other industry.  In fact, retailers face three times as many attacks as the financial services industry, the second most targeted group.  KPMG’s 2016 Consumer Loss Barometer survey indicates 19% of consumers would not go back to a retailer that has been hacked, even after the issue had been resolved

 

Downtime and slowdowns from DDoS attacks cause lost revenue, while hacking and other security breaches can expose customer data and negatively impact your brand reputation and customer retention.  Make sure your content delivery partner offers integrated security capabilities to help you monitor potential DDoS attacks as well as provide scrubbing of requests during attacks.  In addition, deploy a Web Application Firewall (WAF) between your CDN and your origin web servers so it won’t impact the performance of your site.  By doing this, only requests that need to be filled by your web servers (not requests for cached content) are inspected by the WAF, significantly improving performance while still providing maximum security.

 

Video & Rich Media

Customers increasingly expect an engaging online experience.  Videos and other rich media make it easier to learn about products, gain additional insight, and instill confidence prior to purchase.  In addition, technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) are starting to become more common.  Many retailers are experimenting with VR to provide a more engaging online experience. 

 

Recent research by Limelight Networks shows 79% of consumers are likely to recommend a brand to a friend if they had a positive experience with its web site.  When choosing a content delivery partner, make sure they offer an integrated online video platform that makes it easy for you to upload and manage video content.  Capabilities such as device detection at the network edge and identification of incoming requests allow automatic conversion of video content into the appropriate format for the customer’s device.  In addition, auto-detection of a customer’s browser, OS, device, and connection speed make it easy to provide a rich video playback experience.

 

The Solution to Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences

The pressure is on for retailers to provide exceptional online experiences that deliver the reliability, consistency, and performance customers demand while providing the security and availability you need.  Limelight is here to make it easier to address these e-tail challenges and maximize revenue.

 

Webinar - Overcoming eTail Challenges to Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences

Join Limelight Thursday, March 23rd at 2:00pm EDT for a live webinar as we review the technical challenges that impact your ability to deliver exceptional e-tail customer experiences and strategies for overcoming them.