A Few Words of Introduction
I am literally buzzing from the past few days. When the team at Wiley got me involved in the previous title I worked on with them (Advanced Content Delivery, Streaming, and Cloud Services, 2014), I was feeling some way out of my comfort zone. I normally write extensive commentary around the streaming media and content delivery network sector for a variety of trade presses, and very much with a hands-on tradeperson's view. This was the first time I was to contribute some writing to the community among recognized academics: a notably different focus to the engineers in enterprises who read the trade press that has been my writing home for two decades.
While I am no academic, I was bought up at the knees of academics. My godfather was head of Maths and Physics at Sussex University for many years, and he was my favorite babysitter! The opportunity to build the first Mac network at the university in the mid-1980s (unboxing the gift from Apple was a way to occupy a 9-year-old during a holiday), through to, at 17 in 1991, having a log-in (including an email and remote access to the William Herschel Telescope) to Starlink, which was one of the early global IP networks, my teenage years were spent as a geek.
However, I left two different degree courses (Astrophysics and Artificial Intelligence) to pursue commercial ventures. I was typically always naturally more entrepreneurial and impatient more than patient and academic, so I wanted to get to the place where the interesting changes could be made by applying the right technology at the right time. And I believe I have been lucky enough to be in a sufficient number of good places at the right time, and - importantly - with the right people, to have achieved some interesting things, both in delivery of that new technology but, more importantly, achieving the end goal that the technology was underpinning.
The academic world has, to an extent, caught up with the front line of practical implementations of the types of solutions, architectures, and services that
Content Delivery Networks: Fundamentals, Design, and Evolution, First Edition. Dom Robinson. © 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
I am familiar with, and the previous title was exciting, in part for its success and recognition but also, for me, to write for a wider audience than those who read trade magazines!
My style was welcomed by Wiley, and the team felt that my perspective added a lot of context. Immediately after publication there was a hint that, should I have some ideas that could commit to paper, there may be interest in another publication.
Over the summer this past year I came to the conclusion that there may be some use not in trying to define an empirical best practice, but to impart a more general range of insights and to write more gutturally about the overall experience and insights I have gained from the front lines in evolving many CDN architectures, and using many others.
While my idea was being discussed with the Wiley team during these last weeks, I chaired the Content Delivery World 2015 conference (a regular “gig” for me). A speaker couldn't show, so I was asked to fill a 30 minute slot at short notice. With discussion about this book fresh in my head, I filled the 30 minute slot by talking from the top of my head about many of the topics in these pages. The room filled up to about 300 people - many CTOs and chief architects of large global blue chip Telcos, mobile networks, and broadcasters - and afterward I had a rain of business cards inviting me in to follow up. For me, this was some validation of the relevance of a sector-tradesperson's experience to the community, and reinforced my feelings that this book would have some value to readers.
The Wiley team contacted me literally as I returned from that conference and said “let's do the book,” sent me the contract, and I returned it within a few minutes.
Well, you only live once. So if this isn't the right time to record some of my insights and experience, I have no idea when it will be!
I hope you find the book fun, enlightening, at times challenging, and, if nothing else, stimulating to your thought processes as you develop your content delivery strategy.