Characterizing a Meta-CDN


CDNs have reshaped the Internet architecture at large. They operate (globally) distributed networks of servers to reduce latencies as well as to increase availability for content and to handle large traffic bursts. Traditionally, content providers were mostly limited to a single CDN operator. However, in recent years, more and more content providers employ multiple CDNs to serve the same content and provide the same services. Thus, switching between CDNs, which can be beneficial to reduce costs or to select CDNs by optimal performance in different geographic regions or to overcome CDN-specific outages, becomes an important task. Services that tackle this task emerged, also known as CDN broker, Multi-CDN selectors, or Meta-CDNs. Despite their existence, little is known about Meta-CDN operation in the wild. In this paper, we thus shed light on this topic by dissecting a major Meta-CDN. Our analysis provides insights into its infrastructure, its operation in practice, and its usage by Internet sites. We leverage PlanetLab and Ripe Atlas as distributed infrastructures to study how a Meta-CDN impacts the web latency.

Passive and Active Measurement Conference (PAM)
Torsten Zimmermann
Torsten Zimmermann
Engagement Manager