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Apple activates in-house content delivery network, begins migrating content downloads - report

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Following months of rumors, Apple appears to be in the early stages of launching its own in-house content delivery network, the latest in a series of steps taken by the company in recent years to reduce its reliance on third-party infrastructure vendors to deliver content to customers.

A series of packets showing the end of a Mac App Store download from Apple's servers
A series of packets showing the end of a Mac App Store download from Apple's servers


Only a small portion of Apple's massive content trove is handled by the new CDN, with current players Akamai and Level3 reportedly continuing to serve iTunes and iTunes Radio, respectively. The change was first spotted by Dan Rayburn of StreamingMedia.com.

AppleInsider has independently confirmed that some binary downloads through the Mac App Store are now served from hardware residing in Apple's own 17.0.0.0/8 network block. Apple is one of only a handful of private organizations to have been assigned an entire Class A IPv4 block, making connections to its services easy to spot.

Apple is thought to have spent more than $100 million to build out its new CDN, including infrastructure costs and the signing of paid interconnection agreements with major internet service providers such as Comcast. The iPhone maker has reportedly added "multiple terabits per second" of capacity, a nearly tenfold increase over its current capabilities.

Though it is not yet known how Apple plans to realign its content delivery strategy, any major change could be particularly damaging for Akamai. The company -- into which Apple invested $12.5 million before selling its shares in 2004 -- currently counts on Apple for nearly 10 percent of its business.
post #2 of 25

Now it's getting good...

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #3 of 25
Awesome... This is the beginning of AppleTV.

Cord cutters rejoice.
Edited by AppleSauce007 - 7/31/14 at 11:59am
post #4 of 25
Huge news
Apple Purchases last 12 months - iPhone 5S (two), iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ (two), iPadAir, iPadAir2, iPadMini2, AppleTV (two), MacMini, Airport Extreme, iPod Classic.
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Apple Purchases last 12 months - iPhone 5S (two), iPhone 6, iPhone 6+ (two), iPadAir, iPadAir2, iPadMini2, AppleTV (two), MacMini, Airport Extreme, iPod Classic.
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post #5 of 25
Is this similar to Netflix and YouTube? I believe they run their own CDN's as well.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Awesome...

This is the beginning of AppleTV.

hardly.

 

This is just cutting out a middle man or 3.  It's exploiting their own data centers and established peering agreements with MSPs and ISPs, as opposed to copying their content into a CDN and paying the CDNs to negotiate the deals.

 

This just lowers Apple's Content Delivery costs a couple of percent... but in a 150Billion/year business, every billion counts;-).

 

It's that backhaul network that's key.  There is a lot of stuff that isn't nicely done with CDNs (read: iCloud upload speeds, and like passing security tokens back and forth), and if it's a cable company, getting current local cable information and uploading streaming content [that is AppleTV, but it could have been done to current CDNs as well who are in every cable companies local distribution hubs] to optimize routing.

 

Bottom line, Apple is committed 1000% to the cloud for  content management, and not depending on intermediaries for delivery.   In a business that will turn more and more on selling 'swiftly and safely shared bits'  (think health kit and home kit 'phoning home'), Apple isn't leaving much to chance.

 

Like Google, the closer Apple can get to the consumer, the better the experience (and more control in making it better).  Apple isn't doing final mile, but that's fraught with hassles (dogs ripping the fiber out of the ground, lightning, blowing out repeater stations, etc), so this is g

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Is this similar to Netflix and YouTube? I believe they run their own CDN's as well.

 

yes. although I'm not sure Netflix's CDN is based on netflix hardware (it's AWS based).

edit.   Netflix actually manages the network, and has the local caching boxes as well (an ISP can get a box placed in it's dist. hub if it feels it would rather not set up a dedicated peering link (or in addition to, to level usage demands).  Netflix's computational platform is AWS, I don't see where their content is on S2.

 

 

Youtube/google.  we know that drill


Edited by TheOtherGeoff - 7/31/14 at 11:56am
post #8 of 25

One thing not mentioned is if net neutrality goes away, Apple is dealing directly with the ISPs for content delivery rate contracts

post #9 of 25
Let me guess.
Comcast will be the first cable company to feature the next-gen Apple TV.
Others begin to follow 1 year later as they start to lose subscribers to Comcast + Apple.
Ya think?

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 

It's that backhaul network that's key.  There is a lot of stuff that isn't nicely done with CDNs (read: iCloud upload speeds, and like passing security tokens back and forth), and if it's a cable company, getting current local cable information and uploading streaming content [that is AppleTV, but it could have been done to current CDNs as well who are in every cable companies local distribution hubs] to optimize routing.

 

 

I've read this paragraph four times now, and I still can't figure out what you're saying.

 

1. How does Apple handle the stuff the new CDN doesn't do nicely?

 

2. Are you saying Apple having their own CDN affects cable companies?

 

I'm lost...

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

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Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

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post #11 of 25
I don't think this is right. Akamai/Edgesuite can use Apple's address space too. Take the APNS farm for example. Look up gateway.push.apple.com and you'll see it's not serviced by Apple as such but they're using Apple's address range. They always have. That's why Enterprises have been able to configure firewall rules for the 17.0.0.0/8 network. Just because it's a 17 address, doesn't mean it's Apple data centres.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is one of only a handful of private organizations to have been assigned an entire Class A IPv4 block, making connections to its services easy to spot.


Actually, there are more than one dozen for-profit corporations which were originally assigned Class A address blocks including:

Apple
AT&T Bell Laboratories (now AT&T)
BBN Technologies (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon)
Bell_northern Research
E.I. duPont de Nemours
Eli Lily & Company
Ford Motor Company
General Electric
Halliburton
Hewlett-Packard
IBM
Level 3 Communications (assigned multiple Class A address blocks)
Merck
MIT
Prudential Securities
PSINet
Stanford University
Xerox Corporation
Edited by MacBook Pro - 7/31/14 at 12:47pm
post #13 of 25
The IP addresses is the wrong focus. Apple can permit managed service partners to use their range.

The key thing looks to be the domain in use: aaplimg.com
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheinside View Post

The IP addresses is the wrong focus. Apple can permit managed service partners to use their range.

The key thing looks to be the domain in use: aaplimg.com

 

The domain is even less of a sure-fire indicator than the IP address. It's realtively trivial to lay a custom domain over Akamai's CDN compared to allowing Akamai to operate in Apple's address space.

post #15 of 25

Well, then there should be no more excuses for Comcast taking 4 hours to stream a 2-hour movie from iTunes over a 18Mbps cable line any more...

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #16 of 25
Most of Netflix content is delivered by Akamai. They have made it a corporate strategy to leverage cloud providers, such as AWS, and content providers instead of building their own data centers.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 

One thing not mentioned is if net neutrality goes away, Apple is dealing directly with the ISPs for content delivery rate contracts


Net neutrality never really existed.  You always get what you paid for more or less.

 

True net neutrality would destroy the internet.  

The traffic must be controlled and Apple is going to need massive bandwidth for iTunes, iCloud and iTV.

post #18 of 25
Ok USA, but what about the rest of the world?
post #19 of 25

Goodbye, piggybacking Amazon servers! 


Goodbye, Amazon being a company!

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
 

 

I've read this paragraph four times now, and I still can't figure out what you're saying.

 

1. How does Apple handle the stuff the new CDN doesn't do nicely?

 

2. Are you saying Apple having their own CDN affects cable companies?

 

I'm lost...

CDNs are typically one way streets... all data all the time from the CDN into a region... I mean, Joe User doesn't send his photo stream to Apple via Akamai.  With Apple in the ISP, they can, and get more consistent performance uploading and downloading.  Apple can basically have every ISP that peers with them set up a 17.*.*.* route and bypass the mid levels peer exchanges and jump directly into Apple's Routing mesh.

 

Currently, there likely parts of Apple's 17.* network that are carved off and routed to akamai et al,  Akamai owns the dns for 'akamaicontent.apple.com' and rewrites it to the correct IP location for the route 'nearest' your ISP.  So when

 

I was leaning towards the AppleTV future when referencing now Apple has that direct peer relationship with cable companies for uploading data in near realtime.   If AppleTV was to say, be able to tell your at the precise moment what was showing on Comcast channel 238 in Philadelphia, by talking to the Apple Cloud (a lot easier than trying to figure out who in Comcast serves that information and in what format), that's a good thing.   Taking it a step forward, any Live TV that generated (local public access channel), could come through this backchannel, and be restreamed back (nearly) live through Apple's CDN to any AppleTV box.   

 

 

But in the general case, Giving Apple a peer exchange link into your ISP distribution center offloads all the chatter between Apple Devices/apps and the Apple Data Centers.   Given Apple's Size and presence on 20-30% of the endpoints, and in the future always chirping about some AppleID this, Facetim Video that, photo stream this, iTunes Radio That, having Apple 4 hops away (you, your City ISP POP,  your main ISP, Apple CDN, Apple), will make Apple Ecosystem Users' lives better, and the ISP's other users lives better (because their hops onto the Mid Tiers and the Peer exchanges won't be crafted up with all this Apple Traffic.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karmadave View Post

Most of Netflix content is delivered by Akamai. They have made it a corporate strategy to leverage cloud providers, such as AWS, and content providers instead of building their own data centers.

see

 

Netflix announces Open Connect content delivery network ...  (2012)

 

They manage their own multi-tier CDN, including caching servers placed inside of ISPs

 

I won't say if they use Akamai as a back end farm (the data has to be somewhere), but they are managing all the peer relationships themselves, the bandwidth, the dynamic DNS, etc. 

 

The issue with CDN's is that they see part of your traffic and you see part of your traffic.  When you manage all the traffic you can respond to demand a lot better.

 

When I worked for a major eComm Site (Big Box Electronics store), Akamai was something we cursed, because it was black magic...  it worked when it worked, but when customers complained about poor static performance... they shrugged their shoulders and said 'We'll look into it, but it appears everything is working fine.'  That may have worked in 2008, but in 2014, when you have an apple iPad, an Apple TV, and you rent from iTunes, and a 100mbps link via fiber, if you see 'the spin,' it's Apple's Fault.   

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
 


Net neutrality never really existed.  You always get what you paid for more or less.

 

True net neutrality would destroy the internet.  

The traffic must be controlled and Apple is going to need massive bandwidth for iTunes, iCloud and iTV.

err   I think you got it backwards.... getting what you pay for, as a consumer, for _is_ net neutrality.  

 

Paying for 100mbits/second, but if you choose apple content over netflix content, and are limited to 40mbps because netflix gets 'priority' within an ISP's routing mesh is not 'getting what you pay fore.

 

True Net Neutrality would put ISPs and MSP's at the disadvantage of needing to provide better bandwidth management schemes in place, and likely going to capped capacity (you get 80mbps for 80GB a day (2 hours full bore), then 10-80(available) mbps the rest of the day.), because in the end, every bit into the ISP's network and out will be accounted for.   

 

And True Net Neutrality won't happen until cable plants in municipalities are de-monopolized.  a Comcast won't take money from Netflix if their amazon prime user base can just up and switch to Charter with a phone call (recent events to the contrary).

post #22 of 25
I suspect that this is NOT for the public but rather for iOS software updates, net recovery etc in house. Maybe some select demo content for the stores. At least at this stage

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #23 of 25
Well, they do have to make money at sme point if they want to continue. But I'm not sure why this particular bit f news spells doom?
post #24 of 25

@TheOtherGeoff please please please provide more detail!  I find your knowledge on CDN's fascinating.

 

Also, if Apple built its own CDN, why do they use Windows Azure for iCloud... and why wouldn't they simply rely 100% on their own CDN and abandon Akamai and Level3?

 

Why would any company use a mix of 3rd party CDN's when they also have their own CDN?

 

Thanks!

post #25 of 25

@TheOtherGeoff Also if Apple built their own CDN infrastructure, why would Apple simply stop there - and not build a cloud computing infrastructure as well?  - Like Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine.

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