Windows Azure Content Delivery Network announced

Of the recent cloud news, I want to pick one item to highlight: The Windows Azure Content Delivery Network as announced by the Azure team on Thursday.

I recently blogged about the Microsoft Ajax CDN being able to handle the distribution of your JavaScript. Microsoft certainly didn’t setup all that CDN infrastructure with no plan for monetization just to speed up your JS performance. Given that CDNs fit the “pay-as-you-go” business model excellently, it was no surprise that an Azure-based commercial version would then surface.

What can you serve through it?

The key idea is that any files contained in the Windows Azure blob storage can be pushed out to the CDN, albeit with the restriction that the files must be publicly available (i.e. no authentication support). Microsoft recommends sticking with files less than 10 GB in size.

Most of us probably have no problems with these limitations – a CDN would typically be used to cache files subject to high-volume download bursts such as new software releases. Few files exceed ten gigs, and the public availability is pretty much the reason you need the CDN (unless you have an MSDNesque volume of privileged subscribers running for new software betas, but most of us don’t).

What does it cost?

At this time, it is free (as is the rest of Azure, pretty much), but pricing information will follow. Normal Windows Azure outbound data transfer is $0.15 / GB, so you might expect a similar price tag.

Do I want it?

Most sites probably don’t. However, if you frequently distribute files of considerable size and download volume to users around the world, you might be interested. Software releases were already mentioned, but other possibilities exist. A podcast with a broad listener base might want it, although the tooling for simple file publishing may not be quite ready yet. Distributing music or video recordings might be another good scenario – particularly if you need to serve markets with low overseas Internet performance.

November 9, 2009 · Jouni Heikniemi · 2 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Cloud

2 Responses

  1. Heikniemi Hardcoded » Windows Azure CDN now priced and available! - June 2, 2010

    […] November, Microsoft rolled out Windows Azure Content Delivery Network, allowing you to cache your blobs near your users. It was in free CTP for a while, but starting in […]

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