Important considerations before implementing a Multi CDN strategy

Moving to a Multi CDN can seem complex, and many businesses may understandably be hesitant to start building over a new provider; especially if everything seems to be running fine with the current single CDN provider. However, Multi CDN strategies provide many great benefits that can greatly improve your online business performance and experience. With Multi CDN strategy, businesses are ensured that their users from any part of the world will be able to access their website content and applications, while shielding their websites from service degradations, cyber attacks, and outages. Basically, 

Before adopting a Multi CDN strategy, it is important to evaluate critical considerations in order to maximize the benefits of implementing a Multi CDN strategy. Here are some critical questions that you may ask yourself before implementing Multi CDN strategy:

  1. Is my CDN able to maintain consistent performance across all regions and peak time? 
  2. Do I have control to optimize CDN delivery cost utilizing different CDNs’ geographical strength and price?
  3. Do I have any fallback options if there is an outage or overload with my current CDN provider?
  4. How great is the risk or the impact of an outage to my business?
  5. Am I aware of what is the real user performance/experience despite my CDN saying there is an edge node in that region?

Is Multi CDN right for me?

As useful as Multi CDN is, businesses need to evaluate, assess and determine if it is worth implementing. Indeed, it is only through the proper implementation that users can enjoy the widespread benefits of Multi CDN; such as high performance, increased capacity, and even better security.

When evaluating if a Multi CDN strategy works for you, you should keep in mind the following key points:

  1. The type of configuration in use – For many years, businesses have used multiple CDNs in an active-inactive configuration. This means that they would dedicate one CDN for regular use, and the other for disaster recovery. This configuration is prone to downtime when switching from one CDN to another, and can result in performance inconsistency during the switching process.
    It makes more sense to seek out an active-active CDN configuration. In this way, both CDNs are receiving traffic, and users can enjoy an uninterrupted seamless experience regardless of one CDN experiencing issues.

  2. Traffic management using the right algorithms – When evaluating a Multi CDN, you need to have the right algorithm in place for directing traffic to each server. Of the 3 popular algorithms used (round-robin, geo-based, and performance-based), the nature of your operations will determine the best way to manage your traffic. For example, if you have operations across multiple areas of the world, the Geo-based approach may work best for you. You can direct more traffic to areas that have more CDN capacity than others.
    The performance-based approach may work better for companies that are focused on optimizing performance at all times. An on-going algorithm can keep close track of performance variations and route traffic accordingly. If a business relies on service delivery such as real-time social media feeds or video streaming, a Multi CDN strategy can significantly improve performance.

  3. Proper measurement of performance – The only way through which a Multi CDN strategy can truly bear fruit is by having frequent performance monitoring from multiple points. As you evaluate a multi CDN, you should check to ensure that both the origin and the end user experience are frequently monitored. Indeed, measurements should be taken from multiple data centers and ISPs in order to determine any dips in performance. In addition, the end user experience also requires the same level of monitoring to ensure that undetectable issues (such as an ISP having performance challenges that affect a specific CDN within that area) are picked up before they affect your traffic.