Back when streaming video first hit the Internet, it was no surprise when the viewer had to wait several minutes for a large data file to transfer. Faster Internet connections and hosting environments have eliminated the need for video buffering.
That is as it should be. Any company offering video streaming shouldn’t be a bottleneck. Cloud storage and a good content delivery network (CDN) can make sure the company delivers video as quickly as possible.
What is Buffering?
Buffering can be caused by a number of bottlenecks. Bottlenecks can include the server hosting the video, or a slow Internet connection “” either at the hosting server or the end-user’s computer. The company website should never be the cause of buffering when a wide range of cloud hosting services is available to deliver content fast.
Streaming video loads data to the viewer’s computer in a “stream” of bits instead of requiring the user to download the entire video before viewing it. Buffering occurs when slow network connectivity or server resources don’t load the video faster than the end-user’s computer plays the content. This means the streaming bits need to catch up to the viewer’s computer. The end result is the wait time required before continuing to view the video.
What a CDN Can Do for Streaming Video
CDNs provide constant, fast streaming to end users, and they use multiple servers in a data center to stream data directly to users. The quick response time and fast streaming let the user view the video immediately, with no annoying buffer interruptions. The streaming is completely invisible to the user, and any other applications running on the web server aren’t affected, even if several users view a video simultaneously.
Additionally, CDNs disperse data across several geographic locations. This means that the data is physically closer to the viewer. Even though data transferred on the Internet seems like it’s transferred quickly from wherever the host is located, data physically closer to the viewer has less distance to travel, so it’s served up faster in the browser.
CDNs are perfect examples of cloud hosting power. Cloud hosting uses several servers to serve up web pages and applications to users, so space and processing power aren’t sacrificed on the main web servers. CDNs can take a slow, over-processed dedicated server and turn it into a media library for content-rich web applications that require high storage requirements.
About the Author: Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.