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Beyond caching wp_rma
 

Beyond caching wp_rma

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About the Report
Each quarter, Akamai publishes a quarterly "State of the Internet" report. This report includes data gathered across Akamai's global server network about attack traffic, average & maximum connection speeds, Internet penetration and broadband adoption, and mobile usage, as well as trends seen in this data over time.

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    Beyond caching wp_rma Beyond caching wp_rma Document Transcript

    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the Internet Beyond Caching: The User Experience Impact of Accelerating Rich, Dynamic Content across the Internet 1
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetTable of ContentsExecutive Summary ....................................................................................................3The Critical Nature of Rich Media Elements on Today’s Web Sites ..............................3 Prevailing Rich Media and Dynamic Content Elements ......................................................4 Media Search .........................................................................................................5 User Generated Content...........................................................................................5 RIAs, Interactive Games, Mashups .............................................................................5The Rich Media Paradox: Potential Consequences for the User Experience ................5 Centralized Infrastructure Exacerbates Performance Issues...............................................6Why Dynamic, Data-Driven Elements are Inherently Slow .........................................7 BGP Can Slow Internet Traffic ......................................................................................7 TCP: Built for Stability, Not Speed ................................................................................7 HTTP Magnifies TCP Inefficiencies .................................................................................8 Traditional CDNs Fall Short..........................................................................................8Beyond Caching: How to Accelerate Rich Media Content over the Internet ................8 Unique Routing and Communication Optimization Technologies .........................................9 Dynamic Media Routing for Performance .....................................................................9 Connection Optimization ........................................................................................ 11 Prefetching for Rich Media ...................................................................................... 11 The Overall Advantages of Combining Dynamic Acceleration with a Distributed Caching Service – A Visual Example .................................................................................................. 12Summary ..................................................................................................................13 How Performance Correlates to Revenue – It’s the User Experience.................................. 13 2
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetExecutive SummaryAs the Media and Entertainment industry continues to drive online revenue through advertisingand subscriptions, sites are rapidly adding dynamic, rich and interactive capabilities to growonline audiences, drive page views, and impress prospective advertisers. But rich interactivesites and applications, while enhancing user experiences, also increases page weight andcomplexity. This in turn leads to sluggish site performance and slower page downloads whichcan diminish the number of page views and ad impressions.Firms around the world have realized the performance benefits available via cachingtechnologies – such as Akamai EdgeSuite – when it comes to static objects and pages. Yet theyare unable to realize the same benefits for dynamic site elements. That’s because, by its verynature, dynamic content is harder—and in some cases, impossible—to cache.To keep pace with Web technologies and how they are being applied to drive online business,Akamai has evolved its services and developed the Rich Media Accelerator solution. Leveragingadvanced media acceleration technologies, the Rich Media Accelerator solution ensures that allsite elements – both static and dynamic – are delivered quickly and without fail. Many of theworld’s leading online businesses have used Rich Media Accelerator to realize performance gainsupward of 150% globally and more than 100% in the United States. As a result, these firmshave created immersive experiences, greater loyalty, higher site conversions and havegenerated more revenue.The Critical Nature of Rich Media Elements on Today’s Web SitesToday’s web audience has come to expect highly personal and interactive online experiences andusers will not hesitate to click to another site when their expectations go unmet.In order to satisfy these expectations, companies are increasingly building sites that deliver aninteractive, engaging experience. Dynamic technologies including XML, PHP, and Web servicesare being used to enhance product configurators, reservation systems, shopping carts, storelocators, and real-time product catalogs, to name a few. At the same time, AJAX, MicrosoftSilverlight, Adobe Flash and Flex are increasingly being used to deliver Rich Internet Applications(RIAs), which enable Web applications to present the type of rich user interface people areaccustomed to on the desktop. All of these enable deeper customer interactions leading tohigher customer satisfaction and loyalty – and greater revenues. 3
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the Internet Pervasiveness / Impact Capabilities Completely Rich User Experience Database Backend Static 1995 2000 2005 Text & Image Transactional Standards-Driven Web 2.0 + Static content Online Shopping Dynamic Content RIAs Personalization AJAX/Flash/Java/.NET Text Online Banking UGC Images Online Applications XML/Web Services Rich MediaFigure 1. Evolution of Web Sites toward complete, rich, dynamic user experiences According to Gartner, by 2010, at least 60 percent of the new application development projects will include RIA technology with up to 25 percent of those relying primarily on RIAs.1The days of sites with mainly static, cacheable content are behind us. Today, it’s rare to find agrowing online media property that does not leverage a variety of dynamic elements to satisfyuser expectations, improve the user experience, and boost page views and increase emersion.The following are common examples of how the rich, dynamic nature of these elements plays anincreasingly vital role in online business.Prevailing Rich Media and Dynamic Content ElementsThe following prevalent examples of RIA and dynamic site features represent the criticality ofdynamic elements for today’s online business.1 Patricia Seybold Group, Macromedia’s Flash Platform: Bringing Rich Experiences to the Masses, June 16,2005,http://www.macromedia.com/platform/whitepapers/psgroup_flashplatform.pdf 4
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetMedia Search• Site, media, and video and audio catalog searches dynamically query origin databases and return results listings. Advanced filtering and search criteria help improve the customer experience for finding desired media content.User Generated Content• UGC is currently one of the fastest growing forms of content on the Internet and is fundamentally altering how audiences interact with media properties, and how advertisers reach those audiences. By 2011, UGC enabled sites are projected to attract 101 million users in the U.S. and earn $4.3 billion in ad revenue.2RIAs, Interactive Games, Mashups• As media properties attempt to extend interaction times and impressions, RIAs, interactive games, and mashups have become common user engagement techniques. These dynamic applications, to be effective, must provide an exciting and interactive experience and often rely on data-driven interfaces and javascript fetched content, such as mapping data. “Properly deployed rich Internet applications that leverage emerging Web 2.0 technologies, such as Silverlight from Microsoft and Adobe Integrated Runtime from Adobe, can lead to greater customer satisfaction, enhanced customer value with greater click-through rates and more sales...” - Gartner3The Rich Media Paradox: Potential Consequences for the UserExperienceUnfortunately, the very technologies that enable much of today’s advanced personalization andinteractivity – such as AJAX, PHP, and Web services, to name a few – can significantly contributeto why dynamic sites often perform poorly. The more these rich internet application technologiesare used, the heavier – and slower – the site becomes. To make matters worse, users aregetting less tolerant of poor site performance.2 EMarketer, “User Generated Content: Will Web 2.0 Pay its Way?” June 20073 Gartner, Inc., Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies, 2008, June 26, 2008 5
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the Internet Good Potential Performance Quality of User Experience Degradation Point Rich Media Paradox Poor Level of Web 2.0 Site Complexity Figure 2. As sites become more personalized, rich and interactive by leveraging new Web 2.0 technologies, a negative impact on the overall user experience can occur if site performance is not maintained.The reason for these performance problems is that these technologies and applications typicallyrequire repeated back and forth calls to the origin server. These back-and-forth interactions arethemselves subject to the performance and reliability vagaries of the Internet.For instance, while AJAX reduces the delay in the interaction between the browser and thedisplay of a page when new data is retrieved from a Web server, an AJAX implementationsuffers from the same issues that afflict traditional Web application implementations usingbrowsers as their user interface. These issues include performance concerns around scriptswithin the Web browser, and latency/bandwidth issues between the browser and server. Forexample, AJAX applications require a number of TCP connections to potentially be open at anyone time, and affect server loads and bandwidth requirements due to continuous contentrefreshes.Whether the content is delivered via dynamic AJAX, XML or some other sophisticated design orprogramming language, delivery of this dynamic and heavier content and applications placesgreater stress on the Web infrastructure and slows performance.Centralized Infrastructure Exacerbates Performance IssuesFurthermore, most enterprises tend to host their application servers locally, even though theircustomer base is distributed nationally or even internationally. Unfortunately, due to Internetproblems outside of the control of a centrally hosted Web site, the consumer may not be able toaccess an application or may experience poor performance. These problems tend to beexacerbated when a large number of consumers attempt to access content and applicationssimultaneously. 6
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetWhy Dynamic, Data-Driven Elements are Inherently SlowRIAs and other dynamic, data-driven site content must typically traverse the public Internet toconduct a lookup on an origin server and return with the appropriate data. This is generally nota cacheable process, and while this makes the Internet a platform for business, it createsinherent challenges. The core protocols of the Internet – namely border gateway protocol(BGP), transmission control protocol (TCP), and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) – weredeveloped decades ago and are not ideally suited to meeting performance and businessrequirements for today’s dynamic sites. This is a fundamental reason for the paradoxical pooruser experience caused by highly rich and interactive, yet poorly performing sites.BGP, TCP and HTTP simply weren’t designed with drag and drop-enabled photo sharing,interactive games, live maps, searches against million-photo databases, and video uploads andin mind. Yet today’s dynamic features rely on these Internet protocols to traverse the complexand unpredictable public Internet. Unfortunately, each of these three protocols can negativelyimpact the time it takes for content and apps to reach end users.BGP Can Slow Internet TrafficThe Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) – the core traffic routing protocol used by ISPs – wasdesigned to ensure that packets get to their destination network regardless of current networkconditions and was designed in a time when commercial use of the Internet was not prevalent.This issue is exacerbated by the fact that a fair amount of BGP routing prioritization is based oncommercial relationships between ISPs and economic considerations. For example, a networkmay want to limit and/or route traffic based on which route is most cost-effective to the networkprovider – not which route is the fastest.TCP: Built for Stability, Not SpeedTCP was built for stability, not speed. TCP’s aptly named “slow-start” feature is designed tonegotiate communication speed between the browser and the server. In general, it takes threeTCP exchanges to set up a TCP connection and four exchanges to tear one down. This is idealfor sending large files reliably, but not ideal for today’s highly dynamic and frequent exchange ofmuch smaller data sets found in dynamic site elements, such as mapping applications usingAJAX. Like BGP, TCP was designed in a different era to support an Internet unlike what we seetoday.A typical Web page, containing an HTML body and numerous embedded images objects andresource calls, uses several separate TCP connections. The result is a large round-trip time(RTT) multiplier even when there are no network disruptions. As many as 30-50 round-trips canbe required for a single interaction with a Web-enabled application. 7
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetHTTP Magnifies TCP InefficienciesHTTP, the browser’s core protocol, magnifies TCP inefficiencies. Specifically, clients (i.e., Webbrowsers) send requests to Web servers over a TCP/IP connection for elements such as Webpages and images. After the server satisfies the request, the TCP/IP connection is disconnected.For each new request, a new connection must be established. The first request/responseinteraction is for the Web page HTML, and subsequent request/response interaction are forobjects (e.g. images) within the Web page. When the browser has finished loading all elements,the page will completely load in the browser window.While browsers pull some static page elements from cache, most dynamic site elements – likesearches, shopping carts, inventory lookups, personalized and rich user interfaces, mappingapplications and more – cannot be cached.Therefore these data-driven applications typically require multiple roundtrips to the origin. Asthe visitor interacts with the Web page or application, the browser communicates with theappropriate database or application server to retrieve small bits of content that are inserted intothe page. Because dynamic content must be generated in real time by a back-end server, ittakes longer to retrieve and display it.Traditional CDNs Fall ShortWhile many of today’s leading businesses rely upon traditional content delivery networks (CDNs)to help them ensure fast and reliable delivery of their static – and cacheable - Web images andtext, most of these CDNs have not evolved to support rich interactive content. One key factor isthe restricted geographic distribution and size of these networks — this limitation prevents CDNsfrom routing traffic efficiently around Internet congestion. Just as important, the majority oftraditional CDNs have not developed the advanced technology needed to accelerate dynamicelements. Without these capabilities, these CDNs are unable to address the unique businessrequirements of transactional and highly interactive Web 2.0 sites.Beyond Caching: How to Accelerate Rich Media Content over theInternetThe Akamai EdgeSuite service was originally developed to ensure the speedy and reliabledelivery of static content, which can be cached and is ideally suited for storage and deliveryfrom Akamai’s massive EdgePlatform network of more than 34,000 servers in thousands ofnetworks located in over 70 countries.Because dynamic content must traverse the Internet, delivering an experience that is fastenough to keep today’s user satisfied can only be accomplished with a unique view of Internettraffic. Advanced technologies must be used to understand the optimal routes across the 8
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetInternet, to take advantage of those optimal routes, and to expedite data communicationsacross the Internet’s protocols.Whereas Akamai’s EdgeSuite Delivery solution addressed performance and reliability issuesassociated with static sites, Akamai’s Rich Media Accelerator goes beyond this by addressing theunique challenges associated with delivering both static and dynamic elements and applicationsat the core of today’s online business experience. "When the core protocols of the Internet were created more than 30 years ago no one could have reasonably imagined the role they would play in todays world, and they certainly werent designed to meet modern requirements. Over the last decade Akamai has done a remarkable job of finding innovative means of adding capabilities on top of the Internet that make up for the deficiencies of the original protocols.” - Peter Christy, Principal Analyst of Internet Research Group4Unique Routing and Communication Optimization TechnologiesThe EdgePlatform provides the insight into Internet traffic patterns and is the accelerationplatform for three critical technologies used to carry site content requests from the customer’sbrowser to the company’s origin data center and back - in an instant.These three RMA technologies compensate for the inadequacies of BGP, TCP and HTTP protocoland effectively create a new Internet platform for today’s dynamic online businesses.• Dynamic Media Routing for Performance• Transport Protocol Optimization• PrefetchingDynamic Media Routing for PerformanceAkamai Dynamic Media Routing is designed to remove the inefficiencies of BGP by leveragingAkamai’s platform and proprietary algorithms to provide a real-time “weather” map of theInternet in order to make performance-based routing decisions. The Akamai EdgePlatformconsists of a bi-nodal overlay network comprising specialized servers (or “Edge servers”). TheseEdge servers are highly distributed, with locations in very close proximity to end users as well asnear the origin infrastructure. In fact, 85% of the world’s Internet users are within a singlenetwork hop of an Akamai Edge server.4 (source: http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press/releases/2007/press_121007.html) 9
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetAt any given time, for each independent user, Dynamic Media Routing determines a high-performing and available path to communicate between two Akamai Edge servers. As shown inthe figure below, Dynamic Media Routing identifies alternate paths over which an Akamai Edgeserver can communicate with a customer’s origin server. It then uses these alternatives toeither improve the performance of the connection, or to provide for failover in the event that adirect path is congested or otherwise unavailable. Figure 4. Overview of Interactions Using Dynamic Media RoutingInside the Akamai network, proprietary techniques are used to accelerate the content deliveryand avoid Internet congestion points and unnecessarily long routes. An optimal path betweenthe origin site and Edge server is selected based on real-time performance measurements ofHTTP downloads, latency, and loss frequency collected by Akamai. Based on this data, the pathmay be direct (as recommended by BGP), or indirect through an intermediary Akamai Edgeserver. Figure 5. Dynamic Media Routing finds faster and more reliable paths across the Internet greater than 95% of the time as witnessed from a Route Optimization report available to RMA customersDynamic Media Routing is beneficial in two ways: 10
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the Internet- Optimizes RTT instead of next-hop routing decisions made by BGP. This is increasingly important for those applications where the RTT multiplier is small such as for Web service calls and AJAX-enabled applications and creates a key accelerator for all other database driven dynamic transactions- Optimizes application availability of the Internet itself by ensuring end-user requests can reach the application server regardless of Internet bottlenecks such as service provider blackouts, brownouts, de-peering, network outages, earthquakes, etc.Optimized routing decisions are updated in real time with Dynamic Media Routing as Internetconditions constantly change. Any communications across the bi-nodal network of two AkamaiEdge servers take place over an optimized Dynamic Media Routing path to ensure optimal RTTfor every round-trip taken over the Internet.As a result, fully dynamic and transactional content is delivered more quickly and reliably to endusers, even when it is uncacheable.Connection OptimizationRMA optimizes the TCP protocol in a number of ways, beginning by eliminating the need for the“slow-start” three-way handshake between TCP, HTTP, and the origin server for connectionestablishment and teardown. RMA’s TCP Optimization feature establishes a set of long-livedpersistent communication connections between the origin and Akamai Edge servers. Theseconnections are available on demand for handling multiple browser or machine requests.Leveraging the persistent connections and intelligence between Edge servers and the originserver’s data center, Akamai employs pipelining that allows multiple HTTP requests to bemultiplexed over a single connection without waiting for a response, effectively aggregatingcommunications. Additionally, connection window sizes can be increased from 64KB to a 2MBmaximum for greater data throughput.For AJAX-intensive Rich Internet Application, compression of large initial logic downloads and theaggregation of HTTP requests over a persistent TCP connection dramatically improves RIAresponsiveness.Edge servers maintain detailed knowledge of information such as latency between machines,transmission window sizes and packet sequencing information and thus provide a moreintelligent retransmit methodology than the TCP timeout parameter.Prefetching for Rich MediaBy leveraging a Prefetching for Rich Media capability designed to reduce the number of long-haulround trips requires to retrieve embedded content, Akamai is able to further minimize theamount of HTTP processing time it takes a browser/client to load and display a Web page,including the embedded objects. 11
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetFor dynamic application content, Akamai’s Edge servers can act as a proxy for the request andresponse. When the Edge server delivers the base page request to the browser, itsimultaneously recursively parses the HTML base page, predicting and issuing subsequentrequests to the origin. All of the content is then transferred back as a single transaction to Edgeserver using the proprietary Akamai protocol. When the browser receives the base page andthen requests the remaining elements of the page, they are already waiting at the Edge serverand are delivered as if the origin server were only a few milliseconds away. Data is compresseden route, reducing bandwidth usage. At the same time, any cacheable content is stored at theEdge server close to end users and served from cache.The Overall Advantages of Combining Dynamic Acceleration with aDistributed Caching Service – A Visual ExampleRMA combines Dynamic Media Routing, Connection Optimization and Prefetching for Rich Mediawith the key caching properties of the EdgePlatform to help enterprises can ensure that allcontent – static and dynamic elements and applications – perform at superior levels for usersaround the world. The Akamai test results below show that enterprises realize increasing levelsof benefit of the entire dynamic site experience.In this example, the origin is able to serve all content for a dynamically loaded page in 7seconds. When object caching is applied, the same page downloads in 5 seconds – a 40%improvement over the origin server’s performance. When whole-site caching (that is, caching ofboth static HTML and images) is added, the same page downloads in 4.5 seconds – a 56%improvement over the origin server’s performance and an 11% improvement over objectcaching.Finally, Akamai’s RMA solution is used to deliver the page and acceleration the origin round tripsfor dynamic content. With this solution layered onto whole-site caching, the dynamically loadedpage displays in a mere 2.5 seconds. That’s a 180% performance improvement over origin, a100% improvement over object caching, and an 80% improvement over whole-site caching(such as via Akamai EdgeSuite Delivery). 12
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetFigure 6. Akamai’s path and connection optimization techniques work together to significantlyboost performanceSummaryHow Performance Correlates to Revenue – It’s the User ExperienceThe evolution toward rich, dynamic sites and the wave of Rich Internet Applications is, inessence, about giving users the ability to interact with web based data in an exciting, user-friendly and intuitive manner. When users stay engaged, they stay longer and go deeper intothe media site, directly resulting in ad impressions.The next milestone for world-class online organizations is to tackle both challenges at the sametime; creating extremely compelling, rich and dynamic online experiences with lighting-fastresponsiveness. Below are two RMA customers who have solved these challenges and in turn,kept customers engaged longer, led them deeper into the site and turned visitors into morerevenue. MetaCafe implemented a combination of Akamais media delivery and rich media site acceleration solutions to optimize the delivery of rich, heavy web pages, videos and dynamic content, in turn creating a 30 percent improvement in video start time. This improvement has contributed to significant growth in both page views and video views on Metacafe, up 44 and 53 percent respectively between January and July 2008. 13
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the Internet To maintain and grow its audience in the highly competitive video entertainment sector, Metacafe targets sub-second for page load times and under a half a second for videos to load. “In our business, its critical that we deliver a truly on-demand entertainment experience - when someone wants to watch a video, we want to be sure they can start watching right away and without interruption," said Yaron Finkel, vice president of research and development at Metacafe. "Akamai helps us deliver on this promise. Keeping viewers on our site to watch multiple short videos in one session is an important part of building our business - the more videos we serve, the more ads we serve, which is good for our content partners, advertisers and bottom line." HT Media relies on RMA to deliver a four-fold increase in Web traffic from search- related page views and drive an overall 33% increase in page views. “"Site performance and availability are critical for any online media company to building a loyal audience who will return again and again. Post-Akamai, story pages, the home page, and multimedia are delivered dramatically faster, allowing users to quickly access Livemint content. We have been able to support an 88% increase in Web traffic and a four-fold increase in Web traffic from search-related page views-without investing in additional infrastructure," explains Rashmi Chugh, Head Internet for HT Media Limited. "Our move toward a more dynamic site presented very different challenges for us and Akamai helped us solve those. Akamais optimization and advanced content distribution technology allows users to quickly access Livemint from wherever they might be. This, in turn, has allowed us to reach online audiences regardless of geographical boundaries."Inefficiencies of the public Internet will not simply improve overtime, yet the evolution towardcompletely dynamic and immersive customer experiences continues unabated. Thereforemaintaining high performance of Rich Internet Applications and dynamic site elements is the keyto an engaging customer experience and translates into revenue for world-class online mediaproperties.Akamai has evolved its services to keep pace with the evolution of Web sites and technologies.While the Akamai EdgeSuite solution has provided the foundation for successful online initiativesof leading brands to date, the Rich Media Accelerator solution adds the advanced dynamicacceleration technologies needed for today’s Internet business. 14
    • The Performance Impact of Accelerating Dynamic Site Elements across the InternetAbout AkamaiAkamai® is the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processesonline. More than 1,900 organizations have formed trusted relationships with Akamai, improvingtheir revenue and reducing costs by maximizing the performance of their online businesses.Leveraging the Akamai EdgePlatform, these organizations gain business advantage today, andhave the foundation for the emerging Web solutions of tomorrow. Akamai is "The Trusted Choicefor Online Business." For more information, visit www.akamai.com.Copyright © 2008 by Akamai Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system ortranslated into any language in any form by any means without the written permission of AkamaiTechnologies, Inc.While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this document, Akamai Technologies, Inc.assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the informationherein.The information in these documents is subject to change without notice.Akamai, the Akamai wave logo, EdgeSuite, and EdgeComputing are federally registered trademarks ofAkamai. Products or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of other companies andare used only for the explanation and to the owners benefit, without intent to infringe.Akamai Technologies, Inc.US Headquarters8 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142Tel 617.444.3000Fax 617.444.3001US toll free 877.4AKAMAI(877.425.2624)European HeadquartersHeisenbergbogen 2, 85609 Dornach, GermanyTel +49.89.94.00.6101www.akamai.com 15