Microsoft Azure CDN: Content Delivery Network

Introduction
What is Azure CDN?
How does Azure CDN Work?
Uses and Features of Azure CDN
How to create an Azure CDN profile?
Advantages of the Azure CDN
Disadvantages of the Azure CDN
Conclusion

Introduction to the Microsoft Azure CDN

Are you an international business struggling with your Data transfer or Delivery? Then the Microsoft’s Azure CDN helps you with this problem. Want to know how? 

This article discusses Azure CDN workings and its uses, advantages, and disadvantages. So without further ado let’s get started. 

What is Azure CDN?

Azure CDN is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) software service by the azure cloud platforms. This CDN helps in storing and accessing data from various parts of the world. It makes the data transfer process simple and faster. 

Azure has is CDN servers in more than 70 cities around the world. It helps you reduce the load times of your websites, mobile apps, streaming media, or games. The CDN saves the bandwidth, increases the latency and speed responsiveness. 

Before seeing about the Azure CDN, you should first understand how a CDN works? Here is a situation explaining the Content Delivery Network workings. 

How does Azure CDN Work?

Let’s say your site is situated on a US server. Now if some from London want to know to access your server then the data should be transferred back forth across the Atlantic ocean. It will consume more time, bandwidth, etc… 

So to transfer data between multiple geographical locations, the CDN uses the Caching principle. Thus a CDN Service provider will have a main server which is called Origin where all the data are stored. Then multiple Edge servers are built in various locations of the world which is called as Point of Presence, shortly POP. 

When you a client from London create a request to the server, the request will be received by the local POP and then the origin will send the data to the POP. Now the POP will cache all the data for a certain period. 

So when you or another user from the same POP makes the same request the POP will transfer the cached data. 

Thus the time and resource needed for the inter-continent transfer of data is avoided. The period for which the Cached data is stored in the POP is known as Time to Live (TTL) which is normally seven days. If the TTL expired then the data will be again requested from the Origin when the next request is made. 

Uses and Features of Azure CDN:

  • High performance and ability to handle high load and instantaneous demand
  • Content-based query string and specific caching methods. 
  • Caching contents from the publicly available azure blobs and clouds. 
  • Provides access to the cached data from a custom domain name by mapping the CDN HTTP Endpoint. 
  • Top user experience for the end-users who are far from the POP through multiple intermediary nodes. 
  • Blocks spammers, scrapers, and other bad bots
  • Reduce the Costs and bandwidth consumption
  • Load balance between multiple servers and data security to your application. 

How to create an Azure CDN profile?

You can download the Azure CDN service for free from the Microsoft Store. The first step is creating the Azure CDN profile, here is how it is done – 

  1. Login to your Azure Management Portal. If you are a first-time user then sign up using your Microsoft or Gmail account. 
  2. Click the ‘New’ option in the left corner, there select the ‘APP Services’ then ‘CDN’ in the right extended column.
  3. Now you will have multiple options in the drop-down menu like Subscription, Origin Type and Origin URL, etc… select the respected options as per your needs. Then click ‘Create’. That’s it your CDN Endpoint is created. 

Advantages of the Azure CDN:

  • Better Performance and user experience compared to other CDN services
  • Simple configuration to enable the feature
  • Robust and low maintenance cost
  • Decreases the load on the Original Server because files are delivered from the edge servers. 

Disadvantages of the Azure CDN:

  • The base rate is $0.1 per GB, which is comparatively higher than the market price. 
  • Storing sensitive files in CDN has potential risk and security vulnerabilities as the copy of the files is stored on all the servers. 
  • If any CDN network goes down then you may lose website visibility. But it is a rare case. 

Conclusion

In short, Azure CDN is typically a good choice for delivering static content like images, videos, scripts, HTML pages, and other documents, etc… I hope you got the basic idea about the Azure CDN service, if you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below. 

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