Apple flips the switch on massive content delivery network


iTunes is down!. Photo:
iTunes is down!. Photo:

Apple has put a massive amount of money and talent into the construction of its own content delivery network (CDN) for the last few years and its finally starting to pay off.

The new CDN has already gone live in the U.S. and parts of Europe, according to a report from Dan Rayburn, that has used trace-routes to discover Apple is now delivering some of its own content like OS X downloads, directly to consumers, but the company is barely starting to tap into its CDN’s true potential.

Before building its own CDN, Apple was dependent on third-parties like Akamai and Level 3 to deliver app updates and iTunes media content, as well as OS X and iOS updates. With its own CDN in place, along with ISP deals that give Apple direct access to consumers’ devices, Apple now has a faster, more dependable way to deliver content.

Like any of its in-house projects, Apple has put a ton of money into its CDN so that it can offer multiple terabits per second of capacity by the end of the year. Some sources suggest that more than $100 million has been invested in the project so far, but Rayburn says it’ll be worth it.

“Apple has put a massive amount of capacity in place, with many saying that Apple has more than 10x the capacity they are using today, all ready to go. With Apple planning to release the beta version of Yosemite (10.10), and with iOS 8 expected to come out this fall, Apple’s putting in place a lot of capacity to support upcoming software releases.

The speediness of Apple’s CDN buildout is also impressive, considering it took other companies like YouTube, Microsoft, and Netflix about 18 months before they started piping serious traffic into their in-house CDN platforms. Apple’s CDN build out has only been underway for about 12 months, and they’re scaling it quickly.