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Google Cloud Introduces Media CDN for Content Delivery

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Google Cloud recently announced the general availability of Media CDN, a content delivery network targeted to media and entertainment companies. The streaming platform supports advertising insertion and AI/ML analytics.

While Cloud CDN has been available for many years for web and API acceleration on Google Cloud, the new service adds specific media and streaming capabilities. Media CDN is based on three main components: EdgeCacheService, to segment streaming media as metadata and video segments, Cloud Storage origin, to process segmented video from segment storage service and Load balancer origin, to handle media metadata for lookup and delivery. Shailesh Shukla, VP and general manager at Google Cloud, explains some of the benefits:

In addition to running on planet-scale infrastructure, Media CDN tailors delivery protocols to individual users and network conditions. Media CDN includes out-of-the-box support for QUIC (HTTP/3), TLS 1.3, and BBR, optimizing for last-mile delivery . When the Chrome team rolled out widespread support for QUIC, video rebuffer time decreased by more than 9% and mobile throughput increased by over 7%.

Media CDN supports Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and Google Kubernetes Engine backends and it can retrieve content from any HTTP-capable origin, including buckets outside of Google Cloud.

Cache configuration allows customers to define how the content is cached for each route, defining behavior based on the type of content, client request attributes, and freshness. According to Google, Media CDN has presence in over 200 countries and territories and 1300 cities around the world, reducing rebuffers and providing higher bit rates and better end-user experience. Shukla adds:

Media CDN also achieves industry-leading offload rates. With multiple tiers of caching, we minimize calls to origin — even for infrequently accessed content. This alleviates performance or capacity stress in the content origin and saves costs.

Google Cloud is not the only cloud provider competing in the media CDN market, with different offers from AWS, Azure, Fastly, and Cloudflare. But Google highlights that Media CDN can leverage the same infrastructure built to serve YouTube content to over 2 billion users. Kevin Indig, director of SEO at Shopify, comments:

That’s pretty big. They have the customer and infrastructure. Could give them even more data and they could sell the product super competitively.

Using the Video Stitcher API, streaming providers can manipulate video content to dynamically insert ads. Media CDN integrates with Google Cloud Armor to support IP address allowlists and denylists, as well as filtering controls based on geographic location.

A tutorial is provided on how to set up Media CDN in front of a storage bucket using the Google Cloud CLI. Pricing details are not public yet.

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