At its core, the Internet was designed to be capable of continuing to operate and to provide services even if large sections of it were damaged or became unavailable. Over time, there was a drift toward using more centralized servers since it was more economically feasible to operate large facilities were a single staff could monitor many machines as opposed to spreading that same operation across multiple locations. As the demand on the network continues to grow, however, there has been some movement back towards distributing loads in order to improve the reliability and the speed of access to services.
The main way in which businesses are taking advantage of this is through the use of CDN hosting. CDN is another name for a Content Delivery Network, which is essentially a distributed network of servers that are tasked with responding to requests for information. The information they offer can technically be anything, but it typically falls into a category that requires transferring a large amount of data. For example, this can include audio, recorded video, applications, and even live streaming video of events.
The reason that CDN services are attractive is that certain kinds of transmissions over the network can easily suffer when there is even a minor disruption. Users expect streaming video to play very smoothly, for example, but there is so much information that has to be transferred to make this happen that it is easy for a small disruption to cause a recording to be painful to watch. A Content Delivery Network addresses this problem by spreading the load across many web servers that are in a variety of physical locations. This makes it easier to serve requests from best available location based on the rate and reliability of transmission to that particular place, rather than expecting servers in a single location to be able to adequately serve the entire world.
CDN hosting services mainly make sense for companies that routinely deal with distributing very large files, or files of types where it is very important to maintain the quality of the transmission. For example, there are major corporations that distribute their software in this manner to ensure that their customers will have a good experience when they are downloading the software or patches for it. It can also be a good approach for companies that do a lot of teleconferencing or who routinely use video as a major component of their business.