Verizon Digital Media Services (formerly EdgeCast Networks) is the new digital media arm of Verizon, established in early 2014 with the acquisition of EdgeCast Networks and upLynk (a cloud encoding/video lifecycle solution). Verizon DMS later acquired AOL in 2015 (presumably for the adtech) and this acquisition/merger is still in progress. It is unclear if AOL will fall under the Verizon DMS umbrella or if a new company altogether will be formed.
The EdgeCast CDN is a full featured premium CDN built to compete with Akamai. It was one of the first networks to use IP Anycast load balancing, which delivers a faster first-byte response than DNS due to fewer lookups. The network is split into multiple platforms specialized for different types of content including large objects, small objects, ADN (dynamic), Flash, and ecommerce (which is similar to the ADN platform but PCI Level 1 compliant). EdgeCast was founded in 2006 and now serves over 10,000 customers and around 5% of the Internet.
EdgeCast/Verizon follows the superPOP architecture where most of the computing power is located at the big internet exchange points and then peering handles the last mile. As of the end of 2015 VDMS has over 80 POPs and over 3,000 peering partners. Network capacity has been scaling up rapidly as they target the major broadcasters and media producers. In 2016 the company is aggressively pursuing Latin America with 9 scheduled POPs throughout South America and Mexico.
Pricing & Contract Terms
Verizon DMS pricing is not publicly available and all plans are custom built by a sales representative. Contract terms are typically 12 months minimum, with many reaching 24 months or more for more aggressive pricing. EdgeCast has never been a low cost CDN and generally won’t go into the red to win business (the company raised relatively little money compared to its competitors and was profitable within the first few years of opening its doors).
Similar to Akamai, pricing can vary quite a bit depending on what network you’re on and which services you use. Streaming and download traffic is generally competitive whereas customers who use services like ADN (their DSA competitor), Edge Optimizer (FEO), and WAF will pay a premium.
Since the Verizon acquisition pricing has been steadily coming down, likely due to the fact that Verizon operates its own tier 1 network which has inherent cost advantages. Customers who are willing to commit to a long term contract (especially media companies) can negotiate some pretty aggressive rates at higher volumes.
Verizon DMS has no shortage of features. In addition to 5 content optimized platforms, they offer a suite of complementary services, including:
Route DNS – as the largest IP Anycast network in the world, Verizon also has one of the strongest DNS offerings on the market. It isn’t all that well known, but their DNS service consistently ranks near the top of DNS performance benchmarks.
Transact – PCI compliance has become standard for any CDN focused on the enterprise and Verizon decided to create a separate dedicated network just for that market. The Transact platform is similar to the ADN (Application Delivery Network) platform but with an added layer of security some other bells and whistles.
upLynk – upLynk is an end-to-end video lifecycle solution that does everything from ingest to delivery. It can take any file and make it compatible with any device. It does everything from the encoding to ad insertion to delivery all in a lightweight software application that can be run on a laptop.
WAF – the Verizon WAF helps protect customer applications from layer 7 attacks such as SQL injection, XSS, and other vulnerabilities. It uses both the OWASP and TrustWave rule sets for comprehensive protection and customers can create and deploy new rules in as little as 5 minutes. It’s still in its early stages but Verizon has the opportunity to become a major player in cloud security due to their massive network. There is also plans for Verizon Enterprise Solutions to add multiple scrubbing centers which will likely be integrated into the Verizon DMS platform as well.