Google Cloud recently announced the general availability of Media CDN, a content delivery network for media and entertainment companies. The streaming platform supports ad insertion and AI/ML analysis.
While Cloud CDN has been available for web and API acceleration on Google Cloud for many years, the new service adds specific media and streaming features. Media CDN is based on three main components: EdgeCacheServiceto segment streaming media into metadata and video segments, Origin of cloud storageto process the segmented video from the segment storage service and Load balancer origin, to manage media metadata for retrieval and delivery. Shailesh Shukla, Vice President and General Manager of Google Cloud, explains some of the benefits:
In addition to operating on a planet-wide 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 last-mile delivery. When the Chrome team rolled out broad QUIC support, video buffering time decreased by over 9% and mobile throughput increased by over 7%.
Media CDN supports Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and Google Kubernetes Engine backends and can fetch content from any HTTP-capable origin, including buckets outside of Google Cloud.
Cache configuration allows clients to define how content is cached for each route, defining behavior based on content type, client request attributes, and freshness. According to Google, Media CDN is present in more than 200 countries and territories and 1,300 cities around the world, reducing rebuffers and providing higher bitrates and a better end-user experience. Shukla adds:
Media CDN also achieves the best offload rates in the industry. With multiple levels of caching, we minimize origin calls, even for infrequently accessed content. This alleviates any performance or capacity constraints at the origin of the content and reduces costs.
Google Cloud isn’t the only cloud provider competing in the media CDN market, with different offerings from AWS, Azure, Fastly, and Cloudflare. But Google points out that Media CDN can leverage the same infrastructure designed to deliver YouTube content to over 2 billion users. Kevin Indig, SEO Director at Shopify, comments:
It’s pretty big. They have the customer and the infrastructure. This could give them even more data and they could sell the product very competitively.
Using the Video Stitcher API, streaming providers can manipulate video content to dynamically insert advertisements. Media CDN integrates with Google Cloud Armor to support IP address allow and deny lists, as well as location-based filtering controls.
A tutorial explains how to configure Media CDN in front of a storage bucket using the Google Cloud CLI. Pricing details are not yet public.