Large File Download Optimization technology, an integral feature of the
Akamai Electronic Software Delivery and Media Delivery solutions that
supports the optimization and delivery of increasingly large files, such as
DVD software and high-definition video content. To date, Akamai’s global
platform has been leveraged by leading software, anti-virus, gaming, and
media & entertainment companies to deliver many of the largest online
As file sizes continue to grow due to enhanced functionality, improved
graphics, and richer media content, Akamai offers a unique method for
delivering these files and ensuring a positive user experience. The key
technology behind Large File Download Optimization is a system for storing,
retrieving, and delivering large files as a cluster of individual file
pieces. This allows Akamai�s customers to increase file sizes in response
to market demand, while in parallel leveraging the full Akamai distributed
global network to provide a quicker, more seamless download experience for
File size growth is driven by many factors, including broadband
penetration, larger inexpensive storage devices, and high-definition video.
Many companies are now finding it feasible to deliver full DVD images (4-5
GB) over the public Internet. As HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats become
popular, it is inevitable that file sizes will grow to 50 GB or more.
�We’ve released a technology that dramatically enhances the delivery, and
therefore user experience, of large files of all sizes,� said Mike Afergan,
chief technology officer, Akamai. �As part of today�s digital media
experience, consumers are simply expecting access to richer and more
broadband-intensive content. Leveraging our highly distributed
architecture, Akamai has developed a unique approach to optimizing software
and entertainment downloads, while creating a platform that will support
the future growth in file sizes by businesses in all sectors.�
There are a number of challenges inherent in delivering large files.
First, the average time to download a large file can be significant and
many applications may not download all data sequentially. In some cases,
applications may actually download the last part of a file before the first
part. Therefore, when only a small amount of a file is requested, or a
user pauses a download, it can result in the download either failing or
being delayed until after the entire file has been retrieved.
The second is the �fat file paradox� � why does data traveling at the speed
of light often take such a long time to make it across the country? With
the proliferation of large files on the Internet, users are finding that
latency between user and the file ultimately dictates throughput or the
speed at which users can view content. In addition, network congestion and
capacity problems further impact throughput, and these problems, coupled
with the greater distance between server and end user, create additional
opportunities for packet loss to occur, further reducing quality. The
reduction in quality caused by limited throughput and increased packet loss
may manifest itself in the delivery of a video encoded at a lower bit rate,
or in a significantly increased wait time for a file download to complete.
Finally, many large files are rarely watched in their entirety. Therefore,
it is helpful to many software and media delivery companies to store only
the portion of a file that is requested by end users in the Akamai network.
This way, only the requested portions will be efficiently distributed to
the farthest reaches of the Internet.