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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:13 PM   #1
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Apple May Be Building Its Own Content Delivery Network




As Apple continues to develop its new data centers in North Carolina, Oregon, and Nevada, it could have greater plans to develop a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver content to its iTunes and iCloud users.

Analyst Dan Rayburn with Frost & Sullivan believes that Apple is looking to expand its CDN capabilities, but isn't entirely clear how in-depth the system will be. Currently Apple uses Akamai and Level 3 to handle most of its distribution needs for iTunes, the App Store, and iCloud, though its data center initiative gives it a good base of operations for distributing content as well as storage for user data.

Apple built its retail store chain because Steve Jobs wanted to own Apple's interactions with its customers. With iTunes and iCloud, Apple controls the data and the service, but must outsource the less visible but still incredibly important job of reliably delivering data packets to users. With hundreds of millions of users downloading apps, music, TV shows and movies -- with many of those being streamed in real-time to the Apple TV -- ensuring quality of service for all users will be essential.
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I'm hearing that part of Apple's reasoning for building their own CDN is because of performance issues with iCloud, with Apple wanting to have more control over the QoS of content going to their devices. Apple already controls the hardware, the OS (iOS/OS X) as well as the iTunes/App store platforms. Right now they control the entire customer experience, except for the way content is delivered to their devices. Since Apple does not own the last mile they won't be able to have complete control, but having their own CDN would give them more control and security than they have now. The next set of questions to ask is what type of technology Apple uses? Will they go the open source route and built it in a non-proprietary way, or keep it closed? Some will also wonder if Apple might make their CDN into a commercial offering, but that wouldn't make any sense for their business, unless they had some kind of content subscription service akin to Netflix.
A content delivery network allows companies to ensure that their data can reliably get to customers on any ISP, in any geographic locale. A number of other companies that move large amounts of data, including Google, Microsoft and Netflix, have brought much of their data delivery platforms in-house, rather than outsourcing them to other large companies. Many extremely large companies have found that building their own CDN makes financial sense because of the control it gives them, something that Apple values highly.

Rayburn has been saying that Apple is planning to build a CDN for nearly five years, though with three major new data centers coming online and more in the works, Apple is clearly investing in something big. The company is rumored to be working on a new television service of some sort, either a new set-top box or an entire television set, and such an effort would likely require a significant expansion of the company's content streaming abilities to support HD streaming video to a large number of new customers.

Update: The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Apple is working to create its own content delivery network to boost its Internet infrastructure and to support additional traffic in the future. The site reports that Apple has been hiring networking experts and entering into long-term deals to lock up bandwidth.
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Apple is stitching together a network of Internet infrastructure capable of delivering large amounts of content to customers, giving the company more control over the distribution of its online offerings while laying the groundwork for more traffic if it decides to move deeper into television.
Article Link: Apple May Be Building Its Own Content Delivery Network
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:15 PM   #2
Glideslope
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Yes they are. Then cellular.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:16 PM   #3
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Apple TV is already a mess of too many channels, bloatware and horrible UI

they definitely need something special to fix this thing
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:17 PM   #4
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All I use my Apple TV for now is streaming MovieBox content. Which works excellent. Don't need anything else really. Maybe console-like features.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:19 PM   #5
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Apple is underway of building a datacenter in the north of the Netherlands... Does support this story...
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:22 PM   #6
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Apple seems to be on the right track. Switched to iCloud for iPhone 5s push email and don't miss gmail one bit.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:33 PM   #7
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I hope Apple offers a subscription video service. Netflix is complete junk and I would love to have something besides my Amazon Prime service. Hulu doesn't offer enough and I have to sign up for satellite to get Blockbuster. An Apple service would be perfect!
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumeenium View Post
Apple TV is already a mess of too many channels, bloatware and horrible UI

they definitely need something special to fix this thing
I am convinced that the present apple tv interface is a headfake.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:36 PM   #9
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There was al All Things D conference where steve and walt were talking about YouTube, and steve identified it as "Owner Generated Content." I think thats a major area that needs to be focused on for Apple. If they can integrate their iMovie/iPhoto to an extremely easy to use/edit/upload UI, I think they can crush youtube and the monopolies that the cable companies have.

Side note - I bought an Apple TV for my parents for Christmas, and they said "We don't wanna get involved with none of that Apple ****." 5 minutes later they were watching YouTube for 4 hours, missed their bed time by an hour, and watched it the whole next night in lieu of their regular Fox News crap. Imaging if the user experience was actually easy and intuitive to use as opposed to the current UI, and it was easy for content creators to create/edit/upload new content. I really think this is huge.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:38 PM   #10
mistafro
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Originally Posted by Alumeenium View Post
Apple TV is already a mess of too many channels, bloatware and horrible UI

they definitely need something special to fix this thing
It's coming...
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:44 PM   #11
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I can see it now… Apple's network will exclusively stream a looped clip of Jony Ive staring at you and smiling slightly in front of a white background. Every so often, he will tilt his head slightly.


Last edited by AngerDanger; Feb 3, 2014 at 03:02 PM. Reason: iVe
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:44 PM   #12
mistafro
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Originally Posted by Yojimbo007 View Post
I am convinced that the present apple tv interface is a headfake.

I agree 100%, they don't want to let the cat out of the bag until it's ready to pounce...
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Woutje76 View Post
Apple is underway of building a datacenter in the north of the Netherlands... Does support this story...
Probably not.
http://www.iphoneclub.nl/316976/geen...-in-groningen/
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Glideslope View Post
Yes they are. Then cellular.
Apple should buy T-Mobile instead of Sprint.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 02:58 PM   #15
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Well, better start building data centers *outside* of the US, then. They'll need at least a dozen or two worldwide to make this work.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:00 PM   #16
ksnell
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Can't wait for them to turn the current cable company model upside down. I don't know about you, but I am tired of paying Apple prices to "RENT" a DVR box that is Dell quality.

Say goodbye to slow menus and guides!
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:01 PM   #17
2010mini
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I've always wondered why apple never offered a subscription streaming service. I would welcome that.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:01 PM   #18
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Having your own CDN is great. You can add/update/remove files on the CDN with full control. You can push the update right away across all locations or delay it until midnight or some specific time.

They can also re-route traffic from a high load geographic location to a lower load geographic. The extra distance won't slow it down as much as a bottle neck to a busy data center.

Sure running a DC is expensive, but it's probably not that much more. The benefit of full control is well worth it.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:06 PM   #19
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Does this mean replacing the ISP? If so they better be getting equal or better speeds than google fiber
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:06 PM   #20
Glideslope
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Originally Posted by randian View Post
Apple should buy T-Mobile instead of Sprint.
One never really knows, do they?
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:09 PM   #21
vpndev
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look at iTunes Radio

If it's as good as iTunes Radio then there will be more blowback than for MobileMe.

iTR still has problems at home for me, using a hardwired (not WiFi) connection and FiOS. AppleCare has so far been unable to help.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:11 PM   #22
mdelvecchio
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Originally Posted by Alumeenium View Post
Apple TV is already a mess of too many channels, bloatware and horrible UI
not at all -- I've hidden all the channels i dont watch (like kids stuff) and have a very clean, very minimal ATV experience. it works flawlessly.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:18 PM   #23
Benjamins
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Originally Posted by Yojimbo007 View Post
I am convinced that the present apple tv interface is a headfake.
I am pretty sure they are testing the SDK with all those random channel popping up.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:23 PM   #24
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CDN is Cuthroat!

I'm sure they could pull off the capital investment to make it work, but the margins are so low it is hard to understand the incentive. Until CDNs are fully distributed to the ISP POP level there is little incremental gain.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 03:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unplugme71 View Post
Having your own CDN is great. You can add/update/remove files on the CDN with full control. You can push the update right away across all locations or delay it until midnight or some specific time.

They can also re-route traffic from a high load geographic location to a lower load geographic. The extra distance won't slow it down as much as a bottle neck to a busy data center.

Sure running a DC is expensive, but it's probably not that much more. The benefit of full control is well worth it.
It helps when you have approximately $150 billion in the bank for you to play with.
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