Though their names and purposes are similar, an application delivery network is not the same thing as a content delivery network (Source: Aryaka Application Delivery Network). What's the difference?
Content delivery networks are large networks with servers located in data centers around the globe. They are used to deliver Internet content such as webpages, graphics, media files, software downloads, and streaming video in an efficient manner. Content delivery network providers create these private networks, optimize them for content delivery, and sell their services to customers who want a fast, efficient means of delivering content to end users.
An application delivery network is similar to one designed to deliver content. However, with an application delivery network, the network is optimized to handle the demands of interactive applications.
Perhaps the best way to understand the difference between content and application delivery networks is to understand the difference between static content and dynamic applications. Static content, such as a music download, remains the same. Users around the world can download that music file. With a content delivery network, copies of that file are hosted around the world and the closest server is used to deliver it to a requesting user. The benefits of using a content delivery network are numerous with one of the biggest benefits being an increase in delivery speeds and reliability.
Dynamic content, such as application-related content, changes constantly. An Office 365 user might open and edit a Word document, creating a transaction that is completely unique from that of other users. While an application delivery network also has servers around the world, it creates a network environment where dynamic content can flow back and forth in the most efficient manner. The benefits of using an application delivery network are also numerous with application speed, performance, and reliability improvements being among the top benefits.
Before choosing a cloud accelerator, content delivery network, or application delivery network, it's important to carefully consider what you really need to deliver. Is it content or application performance?
Maxwell Pierce is an expert in solving network performances for distributed enterprise. In his spare time, he enjoy traveling and reading on the latest news about cloud computing and technology.