2015 CDN Predictions: Traditional CDNs Suffer. SSL Doubles. Support Reigns Supreme.
January 23, 2015 | Robert Gibb
In our first-ever predictions piece, our team looks at where the CDN industry is headed in 2015.
Will traditional CDNs attached to big names start losing merit (and market share)? Will the same premium placed on speed start being placed on security? What will become the standard for CDN support?
We’ll answer these questions and more.
These predictions are shared collectively by our team. Based on our daily interactions with insiders, the pain points of our prospects, and what is happening in the connected world, this is where we see things headed.
Traditional CDNs Drop Below 50% Market Share
The CDN ecosystem is dominated by a few big players. And because the safest choice - not to be mistaken with the smartest choice - often aligns with the biggest name, companies seeking a CDN often end up choosing an outdated product.
Companies that make this choice end up paying for PoPs in places they don’t need. They also give up access to key features only next-gen CDNs can offer like raw logs, APIs, realtime purging and reporting, modern control interfaces, GitHub integration and more.
For these reasons, companies using traditional CDNs will reach their breaking point in 2015. Developers in companies will become frustrated with inadequate integration and control, and key stakeholders will realize they’re paying for a network they don’t need. All this will contribute to CDN giants dropping below 50% market share among the top million sites.
SSL Encrypted Web Traffic Doubles, Again
Google has been pushing for more online security, especially given all the breaches in 2014. The major search engine has also started using HTTPS as an SEO ranking signal. Right now, it’s a light ranking signal (speed, quality links, and quality content take precedence), but we anticipate its influence on ranking to rise in the next year.Here are the main reasons why connections made over SSL will double again:
- Google’s new signal, and people wanting to improve website rankings
- Greater cybersecurity awareness within companies
- Ease of enabling SSL with a CDN
- Browser extensions like HTTPS Everywhere
- Pressure on advertisers to switch to SSL so websites moving toward 100% SSL can accommodate their ads.
New Premium Placed on CDN Support
Traditional CDNs that dominate market share focus on their biggest clients and pay little attention to the mid-market. This is problematic for two reasons:
- Mid-market companies have small, fledgling DevOps teams or outsource only the initial setup.
- Rapid company growth leaves little time for delayed ticket responses.
Basically, mid-market companies need their CDN to work 100% of the time. And if they run into a roadblock, they need immediate support - 100% of the time. But this isn’t what they receive from traditional CDN providers. Instead support tickets go hours or days without a response, only to be handed off to a less-than-knowledgeable staff or redirected to an outdated FAQ or unmoderated forum.
At MaxCDN, we have an average ticket response time of under five minutes and a Net Promoter Score above 80. You also speak with an engineer who knows the product inside-out rather than a call center specialist reading from a script (“Have you tried rebooting, miss?”). This criteria will set the standard for CDN support, and CDN providers that don’t meet it will lose business.
Customers will continue to become more sophisticated, with multi-CDN strategies becoming more common. Making it easier to integrate with a customer's multi-CDN strategy will become critically important to maintaining happy customers. Easy-to-use APIs and a consistent experience along with high performance and reliability will continue to separate the well-run CDNs from the rest of the pack.
More (Free) Security
HTTPS will become the mainstream. With the speed benefits from SPDY and the latest security issues (Snowden) there will be a huge movement toward an HTTPS-only internet. Google already puts the pressure with SEO bonuses for HTTPS-enabled websites, and other companies like MaxCDN collaborate to provide free SSL.
This means that all CDNs will need to adjust and embrace technologies such as SNI and SPDY, and at the same time reconsider charging extra for HTTPS requests. The ones that don’t will see their clients switching away and in a rapid fashion.
Browsers will be a lot faster and have amazing "offline mode" support with a new set of APIs released by the Google Chrome team. This will push the Browser to become more of an operating system rather than Windows or Mac OS X. It is still years away, but I believe this initiative will encourage developers to write more software for the browser because it will have a near native feeling.
Content delivery networks will be a huge factor in this initiative. Assets will need to be as close to the last mile as possible to provide a native feeling. Progress bars that take over 2 seconds to load the content will be unacceptable to the UX. DSA (Dynamic Site Acceleration) will be a huge feature that all CDNs will need to have in order to provide a positive user experience.
A Mobile Mindset
2015 will be the year everyone starts to think Mobile First. The mobile growth trend will continue and more people will adopt mobile first methodologies. Designers, developers, ad networks, CDNs, and content providers.
Across the board, there will be more optimization and compression because of the Mobile First mindset.
Mobile Video On-the-Go
Mobile video delivery needs will expand, and there will be more tools that allow for editing videos on the fly. Think Cloudinary for video.