How does content-as-a-service relate to CDNs?

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CacheFly Team

Date Posted:

May 19, 2014

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As more and more websites implement application programming interfaces (APIs), content-as-a-service (CaaS) has become an emerging trend. However, it can be confusing at times to distinguish between CaaS products and content delivery networks (CDNs).
Although they are not mutually exclusive, these are two very different types of technology. With that in mind, it is important to examine what CaaS products and CDNs actually are and what they mean in relation to one another.

What is CaaS?
Content-as-a-service is used similarly as software-as-a-service (SaaS) on Web platforms. When SaaS is used on a website, it offers a dynamic software product as a service embedded on a page. CaaS can be used in the same way, offering content that allows traffic to be driven to a website.
CaaS uses API functions to provide these services to Web property owners. The reasoning for this is to entice a captivated audience, something that has become harder than ever before to accomplish. With the number of content channel streams on the rise, service-based offerings drive new sources of advertising revenue to websites that don’t have the ability to provide original content, whether for time or monetary reasons.

CaaS and CDNs
The need for a CDN comes from content providers that are looking for increased redundancy in terms of streaming. User engagement is one of the key metrics that drives website growth and revenue. For that reason, content providers don’t necessarily need CaaS, but they do need to consider CDN options in order to ensure continuity. CaaS is an option for content companies, but CDNs are not — they are a requirement in order to ensure delivery and continuity.
Websites that support applications, news, or communities might want to consider using a CaaS system to enhance their website. CDNs, on the other hand, generally work to queue up a content provider’s streaming. However, a merging of these two technologies is likely on the horizon, and moving forward, CDN providers will be asked to enhance CaaS capabilities with reliability measures.

Gaining an audience
With a multitude of new devices and the cloud, consumers now have an expectation that content will be available to them at all times. This constant need for content is an opportunity for many digital businesses to engage with an entirely new audience that expects services on demand. With many electronic devices now being used with data-pushing networks, resources such as CDNs and CaaS are in demand.
There is only enough space in the industry for multi-platform service providers, which has made CDNs an essential component to smaller niche content players. However, innovative companies could consider using CaaS coupled with a CDN in order to better compete in a market where embedding API codes into a website can mean getting content that gives users an improved experience over industry incumbents.
Photo credit: Flickr

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