Content Delivery Networks

Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Jan 12, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I attended a session on content delivery systems all morning this morning, an excellent talk delivered by Bruce Maggs (Duke University and Akamai). This post of my summary of the talk (warning: long and technical (but endlessly fascinating)). Lots to take away from the talk, but one of the really big ones was the way content delivery systems like Akamai put a real twist onto the whole net neutrality debate. Because they deliver so much content, they convince ISP and institutions to offer them in-house server space for free (thus greatly easing their incoming bandwidth load). This really increases the efficiency of the internet. But it also gives purchasers of a service like Akamai a huge speed and bandwidth advantage unavailable to people like me, who will never ever be offered free server space inside ISP and institutional networks.
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