SVG Europe Sit-Down: Limelight Networks’ Steve Miller Jones on CDN evolution and video traffic growth

Limelight Networks senior director of product management Steve Miller Jones, pictured at BVE 2016.

Limelight Networks senior director of product management Steve Miller Jones, pictured at BVE 2016.

A recent addition to the roll-call of SVG Europe Gold sponsors, Limelight Networks has been an increasingly prominent presence in the global content delivery market since it was established back in 2001. It owns and manages a global, private Content Delivery Network (CDN) – one of the largest in the world – and continues to respond to the challenges brought by the ongoing growth in network traffic. Inevitably, video – not least sports-related video – is a significant contributor to the content boom.

During last week’s BVE trade show in London, SVG Europe sat down with Limelight Networks senior director of product management Steve Miller Jones to discuss the continued evolution of the company’s CDN, the implications of a changing rights model for sports, and the areas where future growth is expected…

What would be your main observations looking back on 2015?

For us as a company it was a year in which we completed a number of our strategic objectives. The company management changed a while ago, and the fruition of that is now coming to pass. But what we have also started seeing more of over the last year is the combination of what we do as a CDN – in terms of large object traffic and traditional software updates – with a significantly increased amount of video traffic, both event-driven and scheduled. So in accordance with this we have increased our capacity considerably in the last year – probably by another 2-4TB per second.

How significant a market is sports broadcast likely to be going forwards?

I think sports broadcasting is significant in terms of how we work with broadcasters and who owns the rights. [To some extent the future in this area will be determined by the nature of the rights market.] If the rights market changes and there are different rights for goals and syndication of clips, as well as the data feeds that go along with games, you could see a change in the dynamic [with the result that we would work] with more syndication partners.

What is particularly distinctive about the Limelight Networks’ offer?

The unique thing about Limelight is the way we architect and organise our CDN; it is a global private network and about the fifth largest IP-based network in the world. We have locations around the world, with points of presence in single cities like London that are then broken down to smaller locations – around 80 in total.

Our proposition is densely architected [and involves] a highly efficient cache directly contacting to the primary points of interaction with the end-user networks – rather than connecting to the exchange – although we do have [such connections] as well. Our high density in each location gives rise to a very high degree of cache efficiency.

Please give a little more detail about the structure of the Limelight offering at this time…

We have a number of product lines. There is a content delivery service for caching and delivery; we have a distributed storage product in our network; and we are very focused on video workflows. The final piece of the puzzle is a security layer which works with websites and location delivery to protect from DDoS attack. There are a lot of features and functionality there that span across different product lines including a specific solution for media and broadcasters as well as cloud storage, delivery for web content delivery, and DDoS Attack Interceptor lines, and we look forward to highlighting those more as we develop.

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