Optimizing Content Delivery: Should You Build Your Own Multi-CDN? 

Organizations strive to reach users across different regions in today’s interconnected world. Unforeseen events such as CDN outages or network disruptions can significantly impact content availability. Imagine your viral video loading forever, or worse it stops playing. You lose your audience, which impacts the business and revenue. Implementing a multi-CDN architecture creates redundancy and failover mechanisms, allowing traffic to be automatically routed to alternative CDNs in case of an outage. This redundancy ensures high availability, minimizes downtime, and safeguards your business from potential revenue losses and reputational damage. 

Let’s explore key considerations and steps to build a redundant multi-CDN setup to optimize content delivery and enhance user experience.

1. Assessing Your Needs: 

Before embarking on the journey of building your own multi-CDN, evaluating your specific needs and objectives is essential. Consider your target audience’s geographical distribution, website traffic patterns, content types, and performance expectations. Understanding these aspects will help you design a multi-CDN architecture that aligns with your goals and delivers the desired outcomes. For instance, live streaming games with a global audience and unexpected traffic surges would be an ideal use case to use multi-CDN. 

2. Selecting CDN Providers: 

One of the primary advantages of a multi-CDN setup is the ability to leverage the strengths of multiple CDN providers. Evaluate various CDN providers based on their network coverage, performance metrics, cost structures, and additional features you need. Choosing providers with a global presence, reliable uptime, robust security measures, and comprehensive analytics and reporting capabilities is advisable. 

3. Building Redundancy and Failover Mechanisms: 

Redundancy is a crucial aspect of a multi-CDN setup. By distributing your content across multiple CDNs, you reduce the risk of downtime and ensure high availability. Implement DNS-based load balancing, dynamic content routing, and health checks to distribute traffic and handle failures intelligently. Monitor the performance of each CDN provider and establish failover mechanisms to redirect traffic in case of any performance degradation or outage.

4. Traffic Routing and Load Balancing: 

To maximize the benefits of a multi-CDN setup, efficient traffic routing and load balancing are essential. Implement a smart traffic routing mechanism that dynamically directs users to the most optimal CDN based on network latency, server load, geographical proximity and Quality of Experience metrics. This can be achieved through DNS-based load balancing, intelligent DNS providers, or dynamic traffic management solutions. Intelligent auto CDN switching based on actual end-user metrics will ensure that content is served with the optimal CDN provider on a granular level. 

5. Content Synchronization and Caching Strategies: 

Content synchronization across multiple CDNs ensures consistency and reduces the risk of serving outdated content to users. Implement effective caching strategies to minimize origin server load and improve response times. Utilize content invalidation mechanisms to update content across CDNs when changes occur promptly.  

6. Analytics, Monitoring, and Optimization: 

A successful multi-CDN setup requires continuous monitoring and optimization. Implement robust analytics and monitoring tools to gain insights into CDN performance, user behavior, and content delivery metrics. Leverage the data collected to identify performance bottlenecks, optimize content caching strategies, and fine-tune traffic routing algorithms. Evaluate the CDN providers’ performance automatically to make adjustments as necessary to ensure optimal content delivery.  

What does this look like from an architectural standpoint? 


Pro tip: For volumetric content like videos and large files, use an additional caching tier to improve the cache hit ratio and to mask the drawback of multi-CDN. 

What teams do I need to build a multi-CDN?

Avengers! Assemble: 

1. Development Team 

To design and build the core infrastructure of the multi-CDN product. They develop software components, APIs, and interfaces that handle traffic routing, load balancing, content synchronization, and other critical functionalities. 

2. Operations Team

To manage the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the multi-CDN infrastructure. 

3. Security Team

To protect the multi-CDN product against potential threats and vulnerabilities. They implement robust security measures such as DDoS protection, SSL/TLS encryption, web application firewalls, and content security policies. They also conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments to identify and address security risks.

4. Analytics and Monitoring Team

To collect, analyze, and interpret data related to the performance and usage of the multi-CDN infrastructure. They utilize analytics tools to gain insights into CDN performance, user behavior, traffic patterns, and content delivery metrics. These insights help optimize content caching, traffic routing algorithms, and identify areas for improvement. 

You can leverage your existing teams, such as procurement, network etc., to help with the product. This is not a comprehensive list but will help you get started. 

Should I build or use a Multi-CDN solution?

It depends on where you have the time, team, investment, and organization priorities. In most cases, out-of-box solutions like Leaseweb Multi-CDN (295+ global PoPs + 345+ Tbps total network capacity) can save time and effort. You can configure a multi-CDN setup in a few clicks to accelerate your production content immediately without any investment. Leaseweb Multi-CDN is recently launched in UK, US & Canada entities and is sold at the best price-to-performance ratio. Please go to the webpage for a compelling price to performance ratio.

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