“Elastic CDN is the next step in our product evolution,” says Roland Mestric, director of marketing for IP video at Alcatel-Lucent. “We used to have a CDN that was sold with hardware. Today, we see the CDN as a network function. We are able to sell this function, and service providers can install the software in any commodity hardware. One customer is using this virtual CDN with VMware.”
But the term “elastic” is “more like jargon,” says Mestric. “It’s a nice way to describe what is happening in the network.”
At the same time, Alcatel-Lucent’s elastic CDN is something real.
Within the CDN, the company has an API that is exposed to an orchestrator that can manage virtual functions. It provides information about the available capacity in the CDN and makes decisions about when additional capacity is needed. From this information, the orchestrator takes video from caches inside the CDN.
“This orchestrator can allocate a bunch of hardware to increase the capacity of the CDN when there’s a traffic demand,” says Mestric.
While Alcatel-Lucent has had its virtual CDN for a while, “The new thing is that this can be done in a fully automatic way,” he says. “This will be available in 2016.”
Elastic CDN functions are especially useful for spikes in video traffic from major sporting events, for example. In October 2014, Akamai Technologies and Juniper Networks demonstrated an elastic CDN proof-of-concept (PoC) to enable network operators to deal with rapid increases in video traffic. The PoC used Akamai’s virtualized Aura Licensed CDN software and Juniper’s Contrail controller.
Aside from elastic CDNs, in June ECI Telecom unveiled its Elastic Networks, comprised of four interconnected blocks: a transport hardware layer, a control layer, an SDN applications layer and a security layer encapsulating the other three.