The Panopto ECDN: A Lightweight Solution for Accelerating Video Delivery

Today we’re excited to announce the Panopto enterprise content delivery network (ECDN), a lightweight WAN optimization solution that we’re making available to our customers at no cost.

Specifically, we’ve built an edge server in the form of an open source HTTP caching proxy (Squid) deployed to a virtual machine (VM) and pre-configured it to work with Panopto’s streaming servers. Our customers can easily install the edge server at remote offices and other edge-of-network locations around the world. The edge servers then act as Panopto-specific caches for live and on-demand video, reducing latency and buffering, speeding startup time, and reducing the amount of bandwidth consumed by video traversing the corporate WAN.

Why are we releasing an enterprise CDN?
Video is the fastest-growing type of content on the consumer internet and within corporate intranets. In May 2015, Cisco updated its Visual Networking Index, a global study highlighting trends in broadband and IP networks. Among the highlights of this year’s study:

  • Globally, nearly two-thirds of all business network traffic will be video by 2019
  • In North America, business video traffic will grow nearly 5-fold between 2014 and 2019
  • Nearly two-thirds of all video traffic in 2019 will be HD and Ultra-HD video

For IT organizations, the explosive growth of video reinforces the need to have WAN optimization technology deployed across the intranet. And the first step to optimizing video traffic is caching it at the edge of the network. For organizations who don’t yet have a caching infrastructure in place, our ECDN provides an easily accessible solution.

What is involved in setting up an edge server?
The edge server comes pre-installed on a virtual machine and preconfigured to work with Panopto. We’ve set up the server so that, by default, it only caches Panopto video traffic. This ensures that other intranet traffic isn’t diverted from its normal route across the WAN.

Installing and configuring the edge server can typically be done in a matter of hours. Like all virtual machines, setup is straightforward. Along with the edge server, we provide setup documentation.

What other WANop solutions are available?
Many organizations already have fully-featured WANop solutions in place, since these are fundamental elements of effective network management.

When compared to the Panopto ECDN, WANop solutions like Kollective’s and WANop appliances like Riverbed’s SteelHead products offer substantially more functionality. For example, Kollective’s solution provides tools for network readiness testing, network monitoring, and live- and post-event analytics. Similarly, SteelHead appliances provide tools for byte-level caching, off-hours pre-positioning of data, and live stream splitting.

For organizations who want a fully-featured WANop solution for optimizing all traffic across their WAN (not just Panopto video), we recommend Kollective.

If the edge server is a caching proxy, aren’t these only for traditional network traffic like web pages, documents, and images?
ICON-LANDING-How-Modern-Manufacturers-Are-Putting-Video-To-WorkA few years ago, when video was primarily streamed using legacy protocols like RTMP, the answer was yes. These connection-oriented protocols required businesses to set up and manage “overlay networks” for the sole purpose of streaming video. This approach added significant complexity and cost to network management, and prevented organizations from using their existing caching proxies for video traffic.

Today, however, modern video streaming protocols like HLS have fundamentally changed how media is delivered across the network. These protocols allow video to use existing network infrastructure, including HTTP caching proxies, to deliver video.

Panopto is the first enterprise video platform to be built from the ground-up on a modern streaming architecture. More information about modern streaming and its benefits can be found in our white paper, Modern Video Streaming in the Enterprise: Protocols, Caching, and WAN Optimization.

Find out more about Panopto’s approach to optimizing video streaming

If your organization is expanding its use of video for corporate learning and development, sales training, employee onboarding, or executive communications, we’d love to chat. You won’t find a video platform that is easier to deploy, manage, and use than Panopto. Request a demo of our product online, or call us at 855-PANOPTO (855-726-6786).

Published: October 01, 2015