Archive for the ‘Downloads’ Category
Our CEO, Keith Caveney, (and one of the founders of OMS SafeHarbor) was interviewed by the Level3 “Red Couch” team at the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC) in Austin, Texas.
The interview was clipped into a short three minute segment. If you are interested in more detail on why OMS SafeHarbor is bringing our software and entitlement management tools to the gaming community, its definitely worth watching.
You can find the interview with Keith on this Level3 Red Couch page.
OMS SafeHarbor is at GamesCom in Cologne Germany this week.
In January 2009 we announced a solution to address the distribution and entitlement management needs of the online gaming community. A couple of our enterprise customers have asked us to explain any benefits they will see as OMS services gaming customers.
The gaming community has a scale that dwarfs (enterprise or b2b) most enterprise software distribution. Just a couple of weeks ago I was in a discussion talking about 2.0 petabytes of bandwidth throughput in terms of hours, vs. weeks or months. The tools and techniques used to manage this scale of activity are specialized and hard to come by. They also work to everyones advantage at OMS – If our core systems are used to entitle and distribute patches to 500,000 end users in 2 days, our enterprise customers have some indication of reliability and performance at their scale.
Users of b2b, or enterprise software would rarely describe their attachment to any particular software tool as emotional. Gaming software is specifically designed to engage you at an emotional level. In a business environment emotional discourse is frowned upon, especially when dealing with a problem. In the gaming space, if you make someone wait 15 hours to download software, then they can’t install it because they are out of drive space, you may find angry vitriol on every popular game forum overnight, and a potential customer abandoning your brand.
Our direct b2c contact with the demanding, emotive, and fickle gaming customer translates into less exceptions and more certainty in the b2b experience (a typically more forgiving interaction due to the larger revenue and value at stake).
Scale and Reliability are the crossover benefits that the gaming market brings to the enterprise software marketplace when talking about software and license distribution.
Earlier this year we said we’d publish a view of this data, and here it is.
The plot below tells you this; the bigger your files, the harder it is to deliver them (and a little bit more, if you read further on).
This is a pseudo-random sampling of a few thousand downloads by users around the world. Piecing together logs and receipts from different networks and different download clients is not easy. But, the “complete” data is very tight. Any oversight is in the downloads that were grouped into the “incomplete” bucket. That is to say, this is the worst-case view of completion rate; its likely, that more attempts completed than we report here. At OMS we expand our reporting to include the concept of a completed “transaction” which may include many files, and/or multiple attempts, as our focus in on completing the business transaction, of which a single file download is only a component.
One of the first questions asked in any discussion of content delivery or software distribution is about completion rates. Since many CDNs tout their ability to improve download completion rates, thats not unreasonable to expect. My issue has always been the “versus what?” benchmark question that rarely gets addressed in that same discussion. Maybe this data point can be a reference for you.
Why CDNs won’t show you this, and why we almost didn’t either
After weeks of trying to figure out the best way to present this data, we finally settle on a very simplest format. But, we came close to not exposing this info at all.
The risk in this little plot?
1. You may not accept that 90/100 first attempts to download a CD image is pretty-good.
2. You may not accept that we/they have almost no control over those 10 incomplete first attempts. For example; how many out of those 100 people stopped their download on purpose, or lost the wireless connection from their neighbors apartment?
The ability to reliably connect and download from the Internet has reached the same level of expectation has getting a dial-tone when you pick up the phone. For most of us that means, always there, always fast. Even when you do get an error in your normal use of a browser, its likely that you just refresh or try again without even thinking about it. But, if you start a download for a file you paid for and really need, and something happens, look out! (We talked about the Top 10 reasons downloads fail in an earlier blog post).
That’s why companies that talk about downloads don’t like to talk about this data, it confronts your expectations with messy reality.
We hope this was helpful. Comments welcome.
Find more Software Business information OMS SafeHarbor.
I’ve been thinking about perspective lately. For some reason I’ve connected with this image from NASA.
2008 has been a tough year for most. Those involved in providing software distribution solutions to technology companies are no exception. These tribulations, and our cadre of customers and friends, have altered our perspective on the software distribution business and the software business in general.
OMS SafeHarbor is changing.
We’ve begun to see the distribution of software content as more than just network, licensing and entitlement mechanics. We’re good at that, but that largely doesn’t matter to anyone but a small band of folks in the bowels of a software publishing organization.
We see the dance of distributing software content to end-users as a two-way conversation between the Publisher and the Consumer. The interactions between you and people that want your software are more involved and important than the terms “distribution” or “delivery” imply. We need to support both transmit and receive communications in this interplay.
You may already be seeing evidence of this in your own email inbox. Every email list you ever signed up for is dredging up your info in the hopes of understanding more about what you, the consumer, are interested in. Big issues of customer retention, loyalty and service will be addressed with big changes in the status quo. Business as usual won’t exist for software companies competing for dollars in 2009.
Customer Relationship Management, Customer Service, or Content Relationship Management, you can pick your buzz words. We see the tide has changed, and we’re going to change with it. Our services and tools are going to be focused on enriching the quality and flow of the relationship between the Software and the Customer, starting at how customers initially order and download the tools they are entitled to.
Stay tuned as we evolve in 2009 (and keep a lookout look for our emails)!
‘The last mile’ is a well worn phrase and the reference can have wide dispersion. The last mile can run the gamut from explaining a runner’s finish, sharing experience on the end of life path, mapping a telecom connection from central office to the local loop, or relating that final phase of a project completion. The implied meaning is having the end point in sight and knowing the chasm that may exist in reaching the actual end point.
From a digital delivery perspective we have made steady gains on completing that last mile. Quality of service has increased for consumers of digital content. We are beneficiaries of the results of Moore’s Law and of ubiquitous internet access. But what happens when there is a connection failure or a transaction failure? When the file requested is several GB, what is the QOS? The payload does not arrive as planned. The last mile, in these cases, disconnects.
As QOS and bandwidth improve we will expect near 100% connection rates. But more than likely there will always be the element of disconnect. We see more activity in the world of deploying Download Managers in an effort to allow increased control and knowledge over a user’s successful receipt of a requested file. We will continue to see innovation and improvement for large file transfer success rates. The last mile disconnect, in my opinion, will remain, but not as a technical connection issue. The last mile is ultimately completed in the context of the first mile and the original background knowledge base of who requested what when.