StreamZilla: What’s in a Claim? Is this Regional CDN the Largest?

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StreamZilla announced at today’s CDN World Summit that it had created “the largest CDN in the world” to help reduce costs for over-the-top (OTT) service providers. If that’s not enough to get your attention, StreamZilla also claims its CDN -- which will contain the likes of Amazon CloudFront, Leaseweb, and Level3, along with another large CDN that asked not to be named -- will be “the first true federated CDN.”

Those are big claims, so contacted Stef van der Ziel, StreamZilla's Netherlands-based owner, to check them out.

What does it mean that StreamZilla is the “first true federated CDN”? Is this announcement a continuation of the CDN federation model he’s espoused over the years at Streaming Forum in London?

“Yes it is,” van der Ziel said, “but I don't believe that CDNs will interfederate because of conflicting interests and the complexity that brings. I believe in this top-down model because there is a business case for both us and the CDNs. There are many pros for customers and it was less complex to implement.”

Is this a move more towards offering a request-routing-layer model for Streamzilla rather than a federated CDN play?

“Instead of having to keep investing in commoditized infrastructure, I'd rather invest in intelligent software," van der Ziel said.

That sounds like a “yes” on moving up the stack. Van der Ziel continued:

“This move can bring larger and more global customers to our platform. If this first step is successful I will look into adding other CDNs and we may add real-time traffic broking features, which would be a cool position to have. I am adding a request-routing model to the existing business.”

One thing van der Ziel emphasized is that StreamZilla’s customers won't be shunted off to other CDNs without their consent.

“I will not leave StreamZilla's existing business and we will still be Europe's streaming CDN for existing customers,” van der Ziel said. “We are still serving out traffic ourselves and will by default do this for all customers, existing and new, unless we need to select other CDNs.”

For customers who choose to go with a regional CDN rather than a global one, van der Ziel said the intent is to be flexible to those needs, but help customers grow.

“We designed the system to be flexible,” van der Ziel said. “We can add third-party CDNs individually to StreamZilla customer accounts. So for customer one we will serve out all traffic ourselves. For customer two we may serve out all traffic via an agreed specific CDN. For customer three we may add CDNs A and C but not B and D because of costs, for instance.”

StreamZilla will act as both broker and load balancer.

“We will automatically geo-load balance traffic for this customer over the selected CDNs,” van der Ziel said, adding that the balancing can be based upon “geography, content popularity, CDN performance, and costs.”

Van der Ziel also brought out a fourth customer scenario:

“For customer four, we will add all CDNs and let the request routers optimize for maximum performance all the time,” van der Ziel said. “We can set at which popularity thresholds the StreamZilla CDN will start overflowing to any of these CDNs. So existing customers will still remain on our platform and all customers can choose which CDNs they want to use -- and afford.”

Does StreamZilla run the risk of becoming just an overlay feature? The CDN is still core to StreamZilla’s approach, van der Ziel said, as is the intent of finding smaller customers and growing them into the need for a major CDN or multi-CDN strategy.

“We will not just become an overlay, we still are a CDN,” van der Ziel said. “For new and larger customers we will offer a one-stop shop: one integration partner, one contract partner. It's much easier, faster and less complicated than Conviva's offering."

Still, van der Ziel says that load balancing may be part of the equation.

“For new customers who bring their CDN contracts we can be a Conviva-like load balancer, but much more integrated, more CDN features, and cheaper.”

StreamZilla isn't directly targeting major customers. That’s smart since the bigger CDNs probably want StreamZilla to be a feeder not a direct competitor.

“We are not directly targeting Conviva's customers who typically are in the +€50000/month traffic budget range,” van der Ziel said. “We are targeting customers starting at €750 per month up to €10K/€20K.”

The reasoning is based on the model for OTT providers and possibly enterprise customers.

“There are so many more medium sized OTT providers, so I hope we will find lots of them,” van der Ziel said. “Besides OTT we also see enterprises as potential customers because they don't typically do a lot of traffic but they need global performance.”

StreamZilla provides a beneficial service to bigger CDNs, van der Ziel says.

“We can help them get these customers on board quickly, either exclusive on their platform or multi-CDN. I am convinced that OTT providers need multi-CDN and I hope we lowered the barrier and are offering the right tools to let them pick [our solution].”

StreamZilla has successfully used this model in at least one client pitch. While we can’t name the company in this article, it’s safe to say that the model -- if adopted by the customer, as StreamZilla claims -- will be an impressive win.

“They are investing heavily in a OTT platform for their clients,” van der Ziel said. “Our arguments -- that we specialize in streaming, and that we have a multi-CDN approach, independent, low costs, high uptime -- helped win the client.”

The work’s not done, however.

“Over the next six months we will trial with the new technologies,” van der Ziel said, “We will fine-tune the performance monitoring and the business logic formulas.”

CDN World Summit 2014 starts today at Thistle Marble Arch in London, U.K., and concludes on October 2, 2014.

Speaking of price points and a multi-CDN strategy, Streaming Media and Unisphere Research, along with a CDN partner, are conducting a CDN services survey. The survey is underway this week, and you not only have a chance to make your views heard but also to potentially win a Hero 3+ GoPro camera.

Click here to take the survey

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