When most people think of content delivery networks (CDNs), they think about streaming huge amounts of content to millions of users, with companies like Akamai, Netflix, and Amazon Prime coming to mind. What most people don’t think about in the context of CDNs is computational storage – why would these guys need a technology as “exotic” as in-situ processing? Sure, they have a lot of content – Netflix has nearly 7K titles in its library, while Amazon Prime has almost 20K titles; but at 5GB per title, that is only 35TB for Netflix, and 100TB for Amazon Prime. These aren’t the petabyte sizes that one typically thinks of when discussing computational storage.
So why would computational storage be important to CDNs? Two phrases summarize it all – encryption/Digital Rights Management (DRM), and locality of service. For CDNs that serve up paid content, the user’s ability to access the content must be verified (this is the DRM part), and then the content must be encrypted with a key that is unique to that user’s equipment (computer, tablet, smartphone, set-top box, etc.). When combined with the need to position points of presence (PoPs) in multiple global location, the cost of this infrastructure (if based on standard servers) can be significant.
Computational storage helps to significantly reduce these costs in a couple of ways. Our ability to search subscriber databases while on the SSD eliminates the need for expensive database servers, significantly reducing the PoP footprint. Our ability to encrypt content on our computational storage devices also eliminates the servers that typically perform this task. When you consider that six of our 16TB U.2 SSDs could hold the entire Netflix library (with three SSDs for redundancy), you can see how this technology could be important to CDNs. Look here for more information on how computational storage can help the content delivery network industry.