Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sandvine's CTO: Video Optimization might not Work for you!

Up until recently, DPI/traffic shaping vendors and video optimization vendors worked on a partnership basis, mainly based on joint opportunities, the need to add one solution on top of an existing one, etc. DPI vendors usually emphasized the synergy of joint solutions (such as redirecting identified video traffic to the optimization device, saving resources), and were ready to work with any vendor. The "partners" web pages of DPI vendors shows usually a number of video optimization partners (Allot, Procera, Sandvine), and some announcements were made (Procera-Ortiva, Sandvine-Mobixell/Ortiva/Vantrix).
Recently these opportunistic relations took the next level and turned into a strategic direction. Bytemobile announced an integrated DPI/optimization solution (here) and Allot acquired Ortiva Wireless, a small player in the optimization space (see "Allot: Cost of Ortiva Acquisition - Less than $17M, in Cash" - here).
Analysts predict that Procera is also looking for an acquisition following it recent public offering, maybe also in the optimization space (see "Procera Builds M&A War Chest" - here).
On the other hand, Sandvine's CTO, Don Bowman (pictured), issued a "public warning" about the ability of current video optimization solutions to support the real-life video traffic.
In a recent blog post, Don says "buyers beware! Not all video optimization techniques are able to achieve the network savings that operators are seeking and the quality of experience that subscribers are demanding"
"From our Internet Phenomena report, we know that Netflix and YouTube are the top two contributors of video traffic volume in mobile and fixed networks. After these big two, there is still a fair amount of traffic from numerous other video content providers, but it is a very long tail so the net value of optimizing such traffic goes down substantially (i.e. lots of effort/processing with little gain). Netflix encrypts its video traffic using Digital Rights Management (DRM) techniques, so that data stream cannot be modified. On the other hand, YouTube today is transmitted using HTTP (in the clear); however, there is a movement towards encryption using HTTPS, and Google has announced it will begin implementing HTTPS as default for its searches"
Don suggests that ".. when selecting a video optimization provider, the investment needs to provide a secure foundation for continuing value-add services for the operator , such as: content caching .. the ability to splice in advertisements for incremental revenue .. content filtering capacity to perform optimization at the high scale needed in growing mobile networks".
See "The Need to Optimize Video Optimization" - here.

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