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Apple Launches 'Massive' CDN -- Report

Mitch Wagner
7/31/2014

Apple has gone live with its own CDN spanning the US and Europe, with interconnect deals in place with multiple ISPs, including Comcast, according to reports.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is using the CDN to deliver some of its own content directly to consumers, with direct access to ISP networks, according to Day Rayburn, EVP of StreamingMedia.com, who watches the CDN business closely.

"From ISPs I have spoken with, they tell me Apple has put a massive amount of capacity in place, with many saying that Apple has more than 10x the capacity they are using today, all ready to go," says Rayburn. Apple can put the capacity to work on a round of software releases coming between now and the fall, including new versions of its desktop Mac OSX and the mobile iOS.

Apple is continuing to use Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM) for iTunes and Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) for Radio and app downloads, but plans to move much of that traffic to Apple's CDN, Rayburn says.

Rayburn says he calculates Apple has already put in multiple terabits per second capacity and will have invested more than $100 million in the CDN.


Switch on Light Reading's cable/video channel to learn more about those fancy moving pictures.


Apple is still working on plans to develop an all-in-one box for live and on-demand TV, according to The Information. Apple engineers have been told to assume a 2015 launch, as Apple struggles to cut deals with cable companies and faces uncertainty due to the pending merger between Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC).

"Apple's vision has been to make any show available at any time--live broadcasts and old reruns alike--using remote storage," The Information says.

Apple has been rumored to be working on this next-generation Apple TV a long time. Cable companies see a deal with Apple as a way to potentially hang on to customers, but on the other hand they fear Apple taking over the customer relationship, The Information says.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
8/6/2014 | 4:25:20 PM
What software does Apple use in its datacenters?
I gotta wonder what Apple is using in its datacenters... If Apple is using its own home-grown datacenter software, maybe IBM should be concerned about its partnership -- because Apple's expertise may not be totally consumer focused.

I also wonder if Apple will get into the "cloud" business once it figures out how to handle massive datacenters with its own software/hardware.....
nasimson
nasimson
8/2/2014 | 10:40:06 PM
any show any time on any device
Thats a very powerful vision. Apple is certainly evolved much from just being a hardware company. With now its own CDN fully set up, iTunes and AppleTV will see a major upgrade!

"any show any time on any device"
danielcawrey
danielcawrey
8/2/2014 | 6:58:38 PM
Re: Just Now
I think this is all about Apple seeing a need and going for it. 

They simply have too much data to deliver and that means it's time to lessen the reliance on traditional CDN players in the industry. Plus, the company having its own CDN will allow it to better understand the nuances of this technology. 
bosco_pcs
bosco_pcs
8/1/2014 | 1:38:54 PM
Re: Just Now
@brian - Apple actually mentioned about using some of its own CDN infrastructure causing Akamai's stock to tank for a few days last year. But I don't think it is meant to be a revenue stream. By the same token, it has been quietly building its datacenters here in the U.S. and oversea (including Asia.) Again, it is doubtful it is meant to get into the cloud for profit arena akin to AWS and IBM cloud services. 

Mind you, CDN and cloud services are really low margin biz and certainly not Apple's core competency. However, it has to do it - and hedge its bets too - perhaps as a prudent business practice. Think risk management!
briandnewby
briandnewby
8/1/2014 | 11:20:37 AM
Re: Just Now
I'm intrigued a bit--do you think they would resell it as a service to others?  Does Netflix having its own CDN or does it buy from others (I thought, could be dreaming, that Netflix purchased CDN from Amazon, which itself was purchased wholesale).
dwx
dwx
8/1/2014 | 10:33:15 AM
Re: Just Now
They have been using 3rd party CDNs namely Akamai with other delivery from their datacenters via transit providers like Level3 or their backbone network at traditional datacenters.

Almost all data things like iOS/OSX updates are carried by Akamai, iTunes from them.  This new CDN they have built will supplant that, it is something they have been eorking on for awhile. 
Michelle
Michelle
7/31/2014 | 10:27:29 PM
Re: Just Now
I assumed much the same. I would like to see the report on what they've been using all this time.
briandnewby
briandnewby
7/31/2014 | 9:38:21 PM
Just Now
My biggest reaction to this was, "They launched this?"

Isn't this a technology Apple has been using the whole time?  I guess, much of Apple TV is a connection to other things, like Netflix, but I streamed/downloaded Downton Abbey a couple of years ago through iTunes and just assumed they used this technology.
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