For most people, the concept of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is kind of foreign. CDNs are the hidden infrastructure that underlies most of the world wide web today. When you visit a major website, it is very likely that you are in fact being served content from a CDN point of presence (PoP). CDN PoPs are distributed throughout the world, typically in large cities to minimize the latency that end-users see when the content is delivered. Examples of CDNs that are focused on delivering content for businesses include Akamai, Limelight, Amazon Web Services, and Cloudflare; these companies deliver content for companies from IBM to Hewlett-Packard Enterprise to Dell to eBay.
While CDNs are most well-known for delivering web pages and videos, the most challenging aspect of CDN business is the delivery of protected digital content. Protected digital content is not just music or videos; it can also be software. Protected digital content is challenging for CDNs because it must be delivered encrypted, usually with a unique digital key for each customer and payload. With today’s technologies, this requires a significant amount of computational power to perform the encryption. For a PoP that is serving tens or hundreds of thousands of sessions, this translates into a significant number of servers, which means a non-trivial physical, power, and cooling footprint. In a large city, this can be very expensive.
Computational storage offers an alternative to the expensive physical, power, and cooling footprint (and capital expenses) associated with the standard approach to CDN encryption. By embedding computational resources within standard Non-Volatile Memory Express® (NVMe) solid-state drives (SSDs), computational storage devices can provide the encryption capabilities required, without the additional servers utilized in standard CDN encryption approaches. And because the contents can also be encrypted, it allows the CDNs to keep the contents safe while in the storage devices, eliminating the possibility of either CDN employees or colocation operators (CDN PoPs are often located in colocation facilities) from “walking off” with unencrypted content.
NGD Systems is one of the leading companies pioneering computational storage for the enterprise. We have just launched our Newport computational storage platform, which provides record-breaking acceleration of a variety of storage-intensive parallel applications. If you would like to find out more about our Newport real-time computational storage devices, visit our website or contact me. Thanks!