For video the killer ap is on-demand viewing. Live is an also ran. We deliver on-demand (and live) via a CDN. Most CDNs use distributed servers with caching systems and some form of route distribution to send the traffic to the closest server. A popular method is anycast routing, locating servers at Internet Exchanges and peering with everyone. This minimises your traffic charges and is extremely effective.
We simply use the same system for live streams. Its much easier to control, manage, operate, than trying to convince everyone to go multicast. Heres why....
The two biggest telcos in NZ have de-peered from the NZ exchanges. They insist that we pay them to deliver the streams to their customers. We say "no, your customers requested the stream and pay you to deliver it - you have the commercial relationship. Peer with us and get the content for free". Besides does Google or the BBC or CNN pay you ?
So instead we have a cluster of servers in San Francisco, and pour huge quantities of traffic into NZ, that originates in NZ. We have calculated its 1/4 of the cost of paying the two telcos. It also gives more efficient access to our content to international viewers.
It doesn't make sense from an efficiency point of view, but in the David and Goliath world I live in, its how we survive. If I can't get a telco to peer, how will I get them to handle multicast ?
As an aside, over the week end I found out my domain is black listed and blocked by one of NZ's top 10 companies - an airline. It seems my little P4 server (OK its got a couple of TB of video on it) can deliver enough video that causes their network to slow, or cost them more money, or whatever. So I've had a look and it appears that none of NZs top 10 companies peer at any IX.
In the case of the airline, I know there is a fiber ring in their data center that carries APE an distributed peering exchange. So they could peer and get the video for free.
So much for innovation.
06 April 2009
NZ Telcos need the boot
Simonfj in a comment recently, dropped a link to a rather interesting communication that I only just grasp but can see in it a description of a very unhealthy media scape in NZ at the moment. This little tit bit relates to the pipe dream I have for why NZ online culture needs to be out of the hands of private telcos: