Posted by : Randy Cooper in (CDN)
Anyone who has read my blog long enough knows that I am always saying that content delivery networks need to offer a lot more functionality in their reporting and analytic packages. Earlier in the year, in a StreamingMedia.com survey of over 1,000 customers, more than 75% of them said reporting and analytics was the number one complaint they had with their current CDN. In April of this year, I posted the top twenty customer requests on ways content delivery networks could improve their offering.
Seeing a real demand in the market, content delivery network Highwinds has been working for the past year on improving their web based reporting product and offering all of the functionality that customers asked for in the survey. In that time, I’ve had the ability to watch Highwinds product continue to evolve and have been able to get a few in-person demos along the way. To date, their reporting package is one of the best solutions I have seen from any of the CDNs in the market.
Highwinds reporting system, called StrikeTracker, enables customers to get real-time analytics, self-service live event provisioning and enable policy-based content-access protection, all via a web based dashboard. They currently offer multiple metrics for live events, something many CDNs don’t have, and soon will give customers the ability to watch individual viewers signing on/dropping off of live events. All customer data is updated typically in 30 seconds or less so it provides actionable information during a promotion or campaign, not just after it has ended. While other CDNs offer near real-time reporting, typically it is at intervals of ten minutes or more.
One of the great things you notice right away when using StrikeTracker is that it was built in Adobe Flex, with a major focus placed on usability and providing a graphically-rich, yet streamlined interface that quickly highlights key statistical information. And because to date, Highwinds has primarily gone after resellers, they have spent a lot of time making sure the system provides reporting for sub-accounts and is viewable through APIs in the StrikeTracker console. Their sub-account reporting and billing data is also rolled up through a hierarchy of parent accounts and can be viewed by sub-account or as an aggregate for all levels.