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CDNs and the Filecoin Retrieval Market

With so many organizations serving information on the internet today, there is overwhelming demand for distribution systems to get that content to the people that need it. This is why content distribution networks, or CDNs, exist.

These networks are geographically dispersed, so when a user wants data from a particular website, the resolver finds the closest CDN node (called a point-of-presence, or POP) and uses that as the “home” for the content. This makes the loading times for that content quicker.

Unfortunately, CDNs have limitations. While they serve most of the world’s internet utility well, there are certain areas where no POPs exist. Likewise, CDNs are convenient for users, but their hosters have to assume exorbitant costs. Hosting data on a CDN may be as much as eighty times what it costs the CDN provider to store and present it to the user.

Filecoin is able to provide a drastic improvement over CDNs by providing a scalable solution for the storage and retrieval of data. It operates on a much more efficient network solution supported by nodes run by users all over the world.

Building a Better CDN

From a technical perspective, a CDN is a complex series of interlinked servers. They are built and maintained by massive companies to allow worldwide data distribution. Filecoin improves upon this model by avoiding the need for a centralized corporation. Its servers are nodes that people own and operate out of their own initiative. This brings several benefits:

  • The first and most tangible thing is that the data on Filecoin is content-addressable. Files stored on the network are linked to a content ID (CID) on IPFS, meaning that their ability to be retrieved is not based on a server location.
  • On Filecoin, content-addressability also means that data is verifiable. The network uses this to implement a Proof-of-Useful-Storage system that allows storage providers to prove that data is stored persistently and redundantly.
  • Another advantage is that, as a distributed network, no one company owns the data on the Filecoin blockchain. Data stored on it is immutable and can be stored permanently across the network.
  • Likewise, the information on Filecoin is permissionless, meaning that anyone who wants to can spin up a point-of-presence, fixing that annoying issue in traditional CDNs where they lack presence in a location.
  • The Filecoin Retrieval Market uses Web3 technologies and is built to be easily interoperable with other projects.
  • Finally, Filecoin also rewards individuals for serving as a point of presence on the network. People who want to serve a POP receive crypto incentives as part of the Filecoin retrieval marketplace.

A growing number of projects are now working in this space and leveraging the advantages of decentralized storage for CDNs. One of these is Myel, who are working alongside Filecoin to lower the barriers-to-entry and make it easier for a non-specialist to spin up their own POP.

Ease of Entry Through Myel

Myel is a decentralized CDN that is built on the Filecoin network. Its interface is designed to help regular users as well as developers of Web 3.0 applications and websites. Using the tool, they don’t have to know the intricacies of how the node they’re hosting works. The result is a CDN that is easily extensible, doesn’t rely on a single point of failure, and brings content as close to the user as possible.

Myel’s POPs can also be paired with a JavaScript implementation and an in-browser client. There’s no need for specialized node software to run in the background on the machine hosting the POP. The POP hoster can simply have the browser page with the implementation running independently on a web browser. This approach makes it possible to run nodes on other machines such as smartphones.

Altogether, Myel and its users are able to create a better option for content distribution that benefits audiences all over the world. This solution is possible by making the most of the Filecoin network’s capacity for content addressing and persistence.

Learn more about the Filecoin Retrieval Market and Myel here.

Filecoin is an open-source cloud storage marketplace, protocol, and incentive layer.