With the Apple TV no longer a hobby, iCloud constantly acting up, and major software releases experiencing server outages, Apple is rapidly growing its own Content Delivery Network (CDN) by quietly signing deals with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).Analyst Dan Rayburn, an expert watching over the streaming and online video industry, has gathered new intel regarding Apple’s CDN initiative first reported in February this year.
According to his sources, “...Apple has been very busy with their build out deploying a lot of boxes running Apache Traffic Server and buying a ton of transit, co-location, wavelengths and other infrastructure services. Their CDN is quickly growing, and it won’t be long before we start seeing a portion of their content getting delivered from their new CDN,” reports Rayburn.
A fast, scalable, and extensible HTTP/1.1 compliant caching proxy server, Apache Traffic Server software was formerly a commercial product donated by Yahoo to the Apache Foundation. Currently, it is an Apache TLP.
The Cupertino company is reportedly signing and/or negotiating deals with some of the country’s largest Internet Service Providers to get its CDN up and running.
Sandvine data showed that Apple takes up a mere 2% of total Internet traffic at peak hours, but whenever the company deploys a major new piece of software, such as iOS 7 or OS X 10.9, that figure jumps to 40%. It could also explain why so many people incurred download errors when iOS 7 was released.
“So Apple does push a lot of traffic at times and the more devices they sell, the larger their traffic grows,” Rayburn writes.
Some of the reasons for Apple’s incentive to own a CDN include “performance issues with iCloud, with Apple wanting to have more control over the end-user experience,” according to the analyst.
“Apple already controls the hardware, the OS and the iTunes/App store platforms. Right now Apple controls the entire customer experience, except for the way content is delivered to their devices, so it’s only natural that a company of their size would build out their own CDN,” he concludes.
As noted above, the company will also want at least portions of its CDN to be up and running when iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 are deployed. With each passing year these updates have been increasingly sought by customers, causing severe strain on its servers.
Apple also has problems delivering timely Support center updates (KB articles) to customers around the world.