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© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In today’s competitive landscape, online com...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 2
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. A...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 3
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. A...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 4
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. A...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 5
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. A...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 6
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. A...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 7
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. A...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 8
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. A...
ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 9
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ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 10
© 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. ...
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Enterprise Strategy Group Lab Review Instart Logic Web Performance Compared to Akamai


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The Enterprise Strategy Group, in a detailed review and performance benchmark of the Instart Logic service, found that Instart Logic is always faster than Akamai in all synthetic benchmarks on mobile devices.

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Enterprise Strategy Group Lab Review Instart Logic Web Performance Compared to Akamai

  1. 1. © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Background In today’s competitive landscape, online commerce organizations must take advantage of every opportunity to gain market share. With the proliferation of mobile devices and ubiquitous access, the next frontier for ensuring customer satisfaction is delivering the optimal experience regardless of the end point. E-commence organizations have many web infrastructure options today, and vendors that are willing to invest in the right technology solutions can separate themselves from the pack by delivering the experience customers want no matter what the device. ESG surveyed 562 IT professionals in North America and Western Europe about their spending priorities for 2014. First, it is notable that 62% of retail companies expected to increase their IT spending in 2014; in addition, when comparing vertical industries, retail companies reported the largest year-over-year average increase in the IT budget.1 Across all industries, when asked what considerations were most important in justifying IT investments to business management teams, return on investment topped the list, followed closely by reduction in operational expenditures and business process improvement (Figure 1). Figure 1. Top Five Most Important Considerations for Justifying IT Investments Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2014. Solutions that improve the web experience for customers can drive up revenue, increase customer loyalty, and attract new customers. That is the kind of solution that delivers high ROI, and in which organizations are looking to invest. 1 Source: ESG Research Report, 2014 IT Spending Intentions Survey, February 2014 26% 31% 37% 37% 38% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Reduction in capital expenditures Improved security/risk management Business process improvement Reduction in operational expenditures Return on investment Which of the following considerations do you believe will be most important in justifying IT investments to your organization’s business management team over the next 12 months? (Percent of respondents, N=562, three responses accepted) ESG Lab Review Software-defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic Date: November 2014 Author: Mike Leone, ESG Lab Analyst, and Kerry Dolan, ESG Lab Analyst Abstract: This ESG Lab review documents hands-on testing of the Instart Logic cloud application delivery system. Testing focused on differentiation between content delivery networks (CDNs) and Instart Logic’s software-defined application delivery platform. The results of testing validated how Instart Logic’s new architectural approach can improve the performance beyond what CDNs can deliver for each of the top 30 E-commerce websites, as listed on the Keynote Systems Mobile Commerce Performance Index.
  2. 2. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 2 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Web Delivery Challenges and Market Trends The web has become a preferred medium for commerce and customer interaction, with mobile devices rapidly becoming the preferred customer endpoint. As a result, the quality of the mobile web experience has a significant impact on revenue, customer retention, and brand reputation. End-users have much more choice now than ever before for buying products and services, because the web equalizes the opportunity for companies to communicate and interact with customers. If they don’t like the mobile shopping experience with one vendor, there are many more that they can try out. In addition, customers have a vastly diminished tolerance for slow performance and poor quality of the web experience on every device. Advancements in processing power, network bandwidth, and other infrastructure components have helped solve the problem of distance—the farther the end point is from the data source, the worse the performance. Typical content delivery network (CDN) solutions address that by copying data to multiple points of presence (PoPs) to shrink the distance. At the same time, the ability to capture customer details and mine for greater information using data analytics enables a more personalized experience. In addition to tailoring content to users, the use of higher resolution graphics, responsive design, and third-party functionality add a richness to the web experience that customers have come to expect. Unfortunately for online vendors, this presents a trade-off: the richer the experience, the slower it performs. The complexity and data-intensiveness required can drag performance to a crawl. Customers who must watch while a web page slowly paints from top to bottom are not getting the experience they need, and that impacts their buying behavior. Another trend impacting the delivery of web applications is the wide variety of devices delivering end-user access. The standard PC-based experience, using a wired network, gives online vendors the opportunity to display high-resolution images, add personalization, and interact with the customer with a reasonable expectation that the performance and quality will be fast and consistent. However, today’s user is likely to access the web from a wireless device, and more likely from multiple different devices. Currently these include smart phones, tablets, laptops, and gaming consoles, while the future is likely to include a new set of devices such as smart appliances, wired houses, connected cars, etc. The problem for vendors is that it’s difficult to optimize the experience for all those different devices. The high resolution image that looks great on the desktop PC does not work well on your Android phone. It requires a lot of data traffic as well as re-sizing, and not only is that lost on the small screen, it causes performance degradation. Web applications today must be re-coded to look good and perform well for the iPhone versus the iPad, and as new devices appear—such as the recently announced Apple Watch—they will need to try to optimize for another footprint. Vendors that don’t effectively optimize for each device run the significant risk that customers will have a poor experience and leave their website without interacting. Clearly, wireless networks offer different levels of throughput and latency than the wired network. Performance can vary from moment to moment, not just as the device travels from one town to another, but even just from one room to another. The quality of the signal, the number of users on the network, and the amount of traffic make wireless access inconsistent and unreliable. Traditional Solutions Delivering web-based applications is an end-to-end problem: data must be transferred from the cloud down through the delivery networks and all the way to the interface of the access device. In terms of the core Internet, today’s servers, storage, and network components can deliver orders-of-magnitude better performance than when online shopping first began, and CDN solutions help by caching at geographically distributed PoPs. What CDNs and other solutions are not solving is the problem of the last mile—that is, getting the application experience fast from the edge onto the customer’s device. The problems of network congestion and device diversity are simply not addressed by more PoPs or bigger, faster pipes and processors. Front end optimization solutions offer web performance best practices, but these require code modifications that can break a site, interrupt service, and add cost, while still doing nothing to assist with the ever-more-congested 3G, 4G, and WiFi networks or manage for diverse devices.
  3. 3. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 3 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Solution: Instart Logic Software-Defined Application Delivery Instart Logic has developed a completely different solution based on a true end-to-end architecture for improving both the performance and richness of the web experience. The company’s software-defined application delivery methodology can resolve the challenges of distance, congestion, and device diversity. Its integrated client–cloud architecture manages resources end to end, while delivering both performance and richness of experience as a service. The service was designed for the most difficult service delivery—mobile users on wireless networks—but provides benefits for all users and devices. In addition, it eliminates the need for any CDN solution. Simple Start-up, Future Proof Implementation requires a simple DNS update; no hardware or software installation and it is completely transparent to the end consumer. Because it is delivered as a service, it will operate with future enhancements to hardware and networks. The Instart Logic service can be scaled instantly on demand, ensuring no service disruption during planned or unplanned spikes and surges. An easy-to-use portal provides real-time visibility, control, and access to detailed activity and analytics reporting. At a high level, the solution addresses: 1. The distance challenge with distributed caching in 30 data centers across the globe with network acceleration. 2. The problem of network congestion by applying the concepts of streaming of images, HTML, flash, and (coming soon) JavaScript. Similarly to video streaming, a subset of data required to start the web experience is downloaded first, and the remaining data brought down in the background. 3. The device and personalization diversity challenge with four features: SmartVision for Image Streaming, which analyzes images, splits them into logical segments based on visual importance, and prioritizes the way those segments get sent to the client; InstantLoad, a client-side intelligence storage management system that puts the highest priority application elements on high performance storage; On-demand Image Resizing, which optimizes graphic size for any device; and Image Transcoding, which optimizes graphic format for different browsers. These eliminate the need to have web applications re-coded to optimize per device, today and in the future. Instart Logic Software-Defined Application Delivery Key to the Instart Logic architecture is the separation of the hardware and network components from the software that delivers applications. The controller software then delivers applications, including policy management and orchestration as well as streaming, deduplication, transcoding, resizing, and caching. Instart Logic software-defined application delivery applies streaming technology specifically designed to address web site and web application performance. The Instart Logic solution has the intelligence to understand all the components of web sites and applications, partition these components into fragments, identify the optimal order of delivering those fragments, and deliver first only those needed to render the experience. That way, webpages are loaded faster. Customers can interact with them right away, while the remaining components are downloaded in the background. This dramatically reduces the time to experience for the user, and enables all the features of the high-quality web experience without impacting performance. Software-defined application delivery improves:  Performance. Dramatically faster performance of web applications, particularly on mobile devices and over wireless networks.  Control. An orchestration layer enables granular control of applications and resources, enabling optimization by device.  Extensibility. The API-based platform enables new software-based service development.
  4. 4. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 4 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. How it Works The cloud application delivery service is a globally distributed service that eliminates the need for content or application delivery networks, and is installed in just a few minutes. Figure 2 provides an overview of the key components.  Instart Logic Network: the service emanates from over 30 locations around the world close to every major Internet peering point. Standard network transport and acceleration, server offload, and traffic spike protection capabilities are built into the highly reliable infrastructure at each data center. The network includes distributed caching, a Global Network Accelerator that eliminates network bottlenecks due to distance and congestion, DDoS protection, and PCI Level 1 compliance.  HTML5 Nanovisor: This light-weight, client-side intelligence component enables web application streaming to standard browsers without plug-ins or additional software installations. The Nanovisor automatically monitors application loading and execution to create a profile of what assets are required in what order; this profile is then reported to the cloud service. The Nanovisor identifies runtime activities as well, to ensure an optimal device experience. This runtime capture is a key differentiator from front-end optimization solutions.  Distributed Software: The application-aware cloud service, working with the information delivered from the Nanovisor, fragments web site/application assets such as images, HTML, and flash for streaming delivery. Its intelligence includes understanding the component parts of web pages, knowing which are static and dynamic parts of HTML, and understanding the structure and format of flash applications. Interactions with the Nanovisor provide the browser load/execution sequencing to ensure fast delivery of the key components first for initial display, followed by the remaining information to optimize image quality and the full fidelity experience.  Orchestrator: This cloud-based software manages the control plane for application delivery, including policy management, catalog configurations, and application of service features. Shown at the bottom right is the end-user browser, with various devices. Sitting between the browser API and resources and the web application is the Instart Logic Nanovisor that works with the cloud service. Figure 2. Instart Logic Software-Defined Application Delivery
  5. 5. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 5 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Innovative Features and Functionality ESG Lab learned about key differentiating features only offered by Instart Logic to help improve the end user experience when loading web page content. Image Streaming with SmartVision, HTML Streaming, On-demand Image Resizing and Transcoding, and InstantLoad are key features that help the website owners enhance the end-user experience, while reducing time to render and time to interact with a website for the end-user. Image Streaming with SmartVision Image Streaming with SmartVision technology was developed by Instart Logic computer vision scientists to intelligently analyze every image on a website, identify the most important aspects of each image, and determine how much information should be sent up front to provide a great quality of experience. The images are then fragmented into multiple segments which allows streaming of the images on the page. The segments are then sent over the network in prioritized order to allow for fast initial display along with full image fidelity. It should be noted that the way an end user sees a segment of an image is in the form of graphic quality, as opposed to chunks of an image. This creates an unmatched end-user experience, where graphics render faster and appear to the end user as though the website has fully loaded. In actuality, the image information continues to come down in the background to crisp up the images on the page. As an end user on a mobile device, ESG Lab was surprised at how difficult it was to tell the difference in graphic quality once the page had initially rendered with the first set of segmented images. ESG Lab compared a common end-user workflow that simulated a request to view a graphically intense homepage using a CDN and Instart Logic. First, the endpoint device makes a request to multiple objects based on the HTML of the website. Each of those objects is sent across a network pipe and depending on the browser being used, multiple network pipes are established for a single browser instance to allow objects to be sent simultaneously. The next stage of the workflow is where the differentiation between a CDN and Instart Logic can be seen (shown in Figure 3). Both diagrams show two, 2Mbps network connections to the device. The same six images are used in both scenarios, which totaled 1.5MB of content and the total time for the page to completely load was calculated. With a CDN, the images are sent over the network two at a time until the web page can be fully interacted with in about 5.5 seconds. With Instart Logic, a percentage of each image is sent over the network, allowing the complete page to be ready for interaction in just 1.9 seconds – a 2.9x improvement over a CDN. Then the remaining percentages of each image are sent over the network and assembled back together using the Nanovisor, with full renderings of all the images being complete in 5.5 seconds. Figure 3. The Instart Logic Advantage with Image Streaming and SmartVision
  6. 6. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 6 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. HTML Streaming Personalized content from dynamic HTML offers end users a unique experience when interacting with a website, but the tradeoff often comes in terms of page load times. As dynamic HTML is created on a per user basis on the backend web server, browsers are often left waiting idle before loading the rest of the static HTML on the webpage. Instart Logic helps address this issue with new technology that can distinguish between unique, dynamic HTML and non-unique, static HTML. As end users make requests to websites, Instart Logic automatically analyzes the HTML as it flows through the Instart Logic service. The technology identifies the non-unique HTML across every user and stores that HTML in the globally- distributed Instart Logic network. When a future request is made, Instart Logic is already aware of the non-unique HTML, so the non-unique HTML can be sent to the end user, while a separate, simultaneous request can be sent to the backend web servers to generate the dynamic HTML for a personalized web experience. While the dynamic HTML is being generated by the backend server, the static HTML is already being loaded by the browser so non-personalized content loads faster and the end user experience is improved. It is also important to note that no changes are required at a webserver or code level for this functionality to work. If a website gets changed or updated, Instart Logic will automatically relearn how the HTML is delivered to the end user and adjust accordingly. On-demand Image Resizing and Transcoding There are two key questions that must be addressed for devices to access a website: 1) What kind of device is requesting content? and 2) What web browser is being used to request that content? On-demand Image Resizing and Image Transcoding are two Instart Logic features that help to address the challenge of delivering a fast and rich experience, regardless of device or browser. For many websites, a user can visit a website from a smartphone, and even though there is a mobile website, the graphics being sent over the network are the same, full-sized images that appear when accessing the webpage from a desktop or laptop. Instart Logic’s On-demand Image Resizing takes the original high-resolution image from the backend web server and resizes that image on demand to a specific pixel size based on the end-user device. There are two ways the system can be used. In the first mode, the developer simply adjusts parameters in the existing image requests within the HTML, CSS, or JavaScript to request specific image sizes. In the second mode, the Instart Logic system will automatically scale images based on the capabilities of the requesting device, namely the size and resolution of the screen. In both cases, the same benefit is achieved: there is no longer a need for a customized backend that stores multiple copies of the same image in different sizes for different devices, significantly reducing storage capacity requirements. In addition to offering resize capabilities, certain web browsers support next generation image formats that reduce data transfer without a loss of quality. For example, Microsoft Internet Explorer is the only browser that supports JPEG XR images, while Google Chrome supports WebP. Both image formats are ideal for their own web browsers, but cross- browser compatibility becomes a major concern. With Instart Logic Image Transcoding, web developers no longer need to be concerned about supporting every new image format. During the analysis of every image, Instart Logic applies modern encoding techniques that reduce image size without impacting image quality, helping each image render faster regardless of the browser. This allows developers to design and build their websites using any image format they desire, since Instart Logic will ensure that the best image format is sent to the end user based on the browser requesting content. Figure 4. On-demand Image Resizing
  7. 7. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 7 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. InstantLoad Modern web browsers have advanced in ways that allows them take advantage of client-side storage and caching, but many web applications have not yet made the leap to take full advantage of the potential performance enhancements. This is due to a number of factors, including diversity of devices, complexity of technology, and various browser implementations. Instart Logic InstantLoad allows web applications to transparently, automatically, and intelligently take advantage of client-side storage and caching by placing application elements in their best location, with the most important elements going to higher-performing, lower capacity storage. The JavaScript-based Instart Logic Nanovisor serves as an abstraction layer that understands the end device’s performance and storage capabilities and virtualizes it in real-time. The Nanovisor then redirects web application elements used earlier in the rendering process to the ideal storage medium. The end result is faster loading and viewing of the web application across all end devices without taking precious cycles away from the web application developer. Why This Matters The impact CDNs have had on web browsing is significant, but minimal innovation has occurred since they were first introduced in the 1990s. Constantly adding more nodes for improved web caching and accelerating global network speeds can only go as far as the underlying hardware. With the number of end-user devices and browsers in the modern world, focusing on the infrastructure should be less of a priority than addressing the bigger challenge of creating a dynamic foundation for a predictable, enjoyable end-user experience. ESG Lab validated that Instart Logic’s innovative software features help to greatly improve the end-user experience. With features like Image and HTML Streaming, SmartVision and InstantLoad, web sites and web applications loaded and rendered noticeably faster, allowing ESG Lab to interact with the content sooner than with a CDN. ESG Lab was particularly impressed with how the image manipulation being done in the background was virtually unnoticed when using a mobile device.
  8. 8. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 8 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Performance Analysis ESG Lab tested performance of two of the top 30 E-commerce websites, based on the Keynote Systems Mobile Commerce Top 30 Index.2 All testing was done blindly, meaning because the websites were not currently Instart Logic customers, steps needed to be taken to ensure a fair, balanced comparison between the existing CDN provider’s infrastructure and Instart Logic’s infrastructure. Because testing was done blindly, test methodology transparency was a key component of the ESG Lab performance analysis. The first piece of performance testing was understanding the test bed. Nodes were selected across the world to access the website content and the example shown in Figure 5 shows the web server being accessed from the Massachusetts node. For the existing CDN provider (shown in red), the test tool connects to a predefined node, which then requests content from the website. For Instart Logic (shown in blue), the test tool connects to an Instart Logic node, which then connects to the existing CDN provider’s Network, which then requests content from the website. Nodes in different locations around the globe were used throughout the testing. It is important to bring attention to the fact that Instart Logic was at a disadvantage before testing even began because these tests were done without the participation of the E- commerce site. Therefore an extra hop was required from the Instart Logic node to the existing CDN provider’s network to access the website content. Figure 5. Test Bed Network Topology ESG Lab used two different tools to conduct performance testing: and Catchpoint. The first tool,, is a free tool supported by Google with a goal of making the web faster by characterizing website performance. Users can run website speed tests from multiple locations around the globe with real browsers at real network speeds. Results are captured and then displayed in multiple ways, including waterfall charts and page load videos. The goal of testing with was to initially characterize website performance and quickly identify areas where Instart Logic could help. ESG Lab selected a website from the Keynote Systems Mobile Commerce Performance Index. An analytical review test was run to identify areas where Instart Logic could not only load the website faster, but also more efficiently. After the first analytical test completed, the top domains from the website were selected based on content load time priority. A key indicator in identifying these domains was a metric called time to first byte, which is a measure of how quickly a web server responds to a request. The top domains for both the desktop site and mobile site were identified and a configuration file was built based on those domains. The configuration kept all variables, including web browser type and connection speed, the same. The only difference came in terms of overwriting DNS variables to force the connection to go through Instart Logic nodes on an isolated testing network (hence the extra hop to occur between nodes previously explained). After provisioning the configuration to the Instart Logic network, the same analytical test was run using the Instart Logic network and the results were compared to the original test, utilizing the website’s current CDN provider. 2 See appendix for the Keynote Systems Mobile Commerce Top 30 Index
  9. 9. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 9 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Waterfall views were compared between the two analytical runs, the first utilizing the existing CDN provider, and the second using Instart Logic. As shown in Figure 6, a waterfall view is a horizontal bar graph showing the time it takes to load each resource on the page from the beginning of the HTTP request until the final byte of the response has been received. Each resource is represented as a bar, with each color referring to a different response time key performance indicator (KPI). The KPIs include DNS lookup, initial connection, SSL negotiation, time to first byte, content download, DOM content loaded, and document complete. ESG Lab noted in particular the time to first byte (horizontal green bar) and start render time (vertical light-green line). Before Instart Logic, the time to first byte took nearly one second. After enabling Instart Logic’s technology, time to first byte completed in approximately 100ms – a 10x improvement. This also enabled eight additional website resources to begin loading data. Start render times also yielded a significant time reduction (2.5x) when leveraging Instart Technology compared to the existing CDN platform. The CDN platform took more than two seconds to begin rendering content, whereas Instart Logic began rendering at 900ms. Figure 6. Comparing Waterfall Views After completing the initial characterization, ESG Lab used the second test tool, Catchpoint, for longer, deeper test runs. With a more robust set of features around configuration and data visualization and a much larger geographical footprint, Catchpoint simulates an edge device by leveraging its own nodes to collect data points based on a pre-defined set of test parameters. ESG Lab used a group of different websites from the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index during this phase of testing to highlight multiple areas where Instart Logic can accelerate website performance on both desktops and mobile devices. Tests were configured by entering and selecting all key information. This included entering a test name, selecting the browser to be simulated, selecting the performance counters to be collected, forcing the DNS overrides when using Instart Logic, targeting the last-mile devices, selecting specific nodes across the globe, and entering a test-run duration. Each test run measured the time it took to completely load the website. The test was configured to randomly jump between node locations at different times. The same performance metrics were collected during each test run and ESG Lab compared the results using the website’s existing CDN provider to using Instart Logic’s Software-defined Application Delivery. ESG Lab looked at a histogram of a benchmark that simulated the performance of accessing a website from a mobile device. The histogram showed the percentage of completed runs and placed each run into a time range for when the website started to render. For example, in the chart shown in Figure 7, 12% of the runs completed in 600ms to 800ms. The higher the bars are to the left of the chart, the better the user experience. Over 50% of the test runs completed in 1 second or less with Instart Logic, while in that same time frame only 1% of test runs completed with the CDN. This showed not only were more users loading web pages faster with Instart Logic, but they were falling into a time range that was unachievable when using the existing CDN provider’s infrastructure. This provided an experience for mobile users unlike anything they had experienced before, and by shifting all the users down to lower time ranges, the risk of abandonment was greatly reduced. Abandonment describes the action of a website visitor when they leave the webpage before completing their desired action. This is regularly caused by poor website performance, whether it be time to render a graphic, or simply the time is takes to render anything at all.
  10. 10. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 10 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Figure 7. Histogram of Test Runs Throughout the first two phases of testing, the tools ESG Lab used were considered to be synthetic tests. This means that the tests could simulate a specific action or path that an end-user would take on a site and measure how a website performed from various geographies in terms of specific KPIs, such as response time. This served its purpose quite well, but it should be noted that synthetic testing does not capture actual end-user interactions. ESG Lab also looked at real- world performance results from existing Instart Logic customers before and after deploying Instart Logic’s technology with a focus on bounce rate from real user measurement (RUM) data. This represented a visitor who loaded the website and either quickly left or did nothing for an extended period of time. Bounce rate serves as one of the best KPIs to help determine the effectiveness and performance of the first webpage visited. In theory, the better the performance and the faster the webpage loads, the happier the end-user, which could lead to more clicks within the website. The day before the Instart Logic service was turned on, data of actual mobile devices visiting the customer’s homepage was recorded, which was directly proportional to the bounce rate. The average page load was approximately 6.5 seconds for mobile users. The next day the Instart Logic service was turned on and a 10% reduction in average page load times was achieved, which then moved more user experiences out of the areas where end users bounce at a higher percentage. This showed how Instart Logic could improve on an already acceptable user experience for mobile users. Next, ESG Lab looked specifically at the lower end of the curve, where some users would be waiting for upwards of two minutes just to display the mobile homepage. This represented how Instart Logic could improve a currently poor user experience from abandonment to faster performance enabling user interaction. The difference was quite impressive, drastically reducing the page loads and bounce rates for this set of customers by more than 75%. Why This Matters There are multiple questions that need to be asked when trying to ensure an optimal online viewing experience. What device is being used? Is the network wired, wireless, or mobile? What kind of browser is making the request? The answer to each of these questions directly impacts content delivery, and this is just on the end-user side. From a developer’s standpoint, even more questions arise. How can the viewing experience be personalized per user, customized per device, and still deliver the high-resolution imagery and data-intensive web applications without significantly degrading performance for end-users? A new, future- proof approach is needed that replaces CDNs and front-end optimization techniques with innovative features and functions to improve content delivery performance across the entire delivery path. ESG Lab confirmed improved website performance for at least one KPI across every top 30 E-commerce website in the Keynote Mobile Commerce Index on top of the CDN provider used. Whether it be a faster time to first byte, time to render, or time for a website to completely load, the Instart Logic advantage was quite clear. And these improvements are not just for websites that are currently performing poorly for certain end users. Some of the websites are already highly performing. Instart Logic was able to improve the user experience even further. 0 10 20 30 40 50 600 - 800 800 - 1,000 1,000 - 1,200 1,200 - 1,400 1,400 - 1,600 1,600 - 1,800 1,800 - 2,000 %ofTestRuns Render Start Time (ms) Comparing Render Start Times for Mobile Devices (on a top 30 E-commerce website) Instart Logic CDN Instart Logic Advantage
  11. 11. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 11 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Bigger Truth There’s no question that the ability to deliver a much richer web experience has increased dramatically in the past decade. Faster server/storage/network infrastructures, advancements in application development, the use of data analytics to personalize offerings, and even better display technology have made the web a place where people spend lots of money and time. Personalized web experiences with tailored offerings are becoming the norm, as are high resolution images and additional capabilities delivered by third parties. Delivering these experiences to customers can increase revenue, add customers, and retain their loyalty. This is great news for online retailers, but there are challenges. First, adding this richness is complex and data-intensive, often resulting in slow performance—which can be the death of the customer interaction. Customers today expect a high quality and fast web experience, and have little tolerance for anything less. And why should they? If your site can’t do the job, there are plenty of others that can. In addition, customers can access the web using many different types of devices in different form factors. Web developers must re-code applications in an attempt to maintain the performance and richness, while satisfying the needs of different devices and browsers. And all of this is done while trying to optimize the experience on unreliable, inconsistent wireless networks. Instart Logic has an innovative, software-defined solution addressing the challenges of distance, richness of experience, end user device variety, and unreliable wireless network service. The Instart Logic Software-defined Delivery System is an end-to-end solution with a particular focus on the last mile, where the customer experience bottleneck has shifted. It leverages both client- and cloud-side software, working together to stream web pages and web applications. By fragmenting images, HTML, and flash into segments, the Instart Logic solution can begin by sending to the end-user device only the parts required to initiate the experience. The remaining components can be delivered in the background, while the user has already begun interacting. This enables high-quality, rich features without the performance impact. Traditional solutions rely on hardware and multiple data copies only, and have no impact on that last mile of connectivity where, the rubber meets the road. ESG Lab validated that regardless of the device, browser, or network being used, Instart Logic’s Software-defined Delivery System delivered faster, more predictable website performance, greatly improving the end-user experience while reducing the potential for abandonment. When leveraging Instart Logic’s new architectural approach, ESG Lab confirmed improved website performance for at least one key performance indicator (KPI) across each of the top 30 E- commerce websites, as listed on the Keynote Systems Mobile Commerce Performance Index. ESG Lab was most impressed with the performance and quality of the overall web experience; when using Instart Logic to deliver the content, our website interactions were smoother and easier, with a “snappy” feel. The Instart Logic solution was designed for a worse case problem—mobile use over wireless networks—but the solution benefits all types of users and devices. The Instart Logic team includes professionals from many technology areas: big data, gaming, virtualization, browsers, web applications, and web delivery. This diversity no doubt contributed to the company’s ability to look outside of the traditional approaches to find an innovative strategy that not only improves performance while maintaining high quality for today, but for the future. As new devices and higher become available, the software-based Instart Logic solution will be able to add value instantly and automatically. Will Instart Logic ever have the massive global presence of the largest CDNs with which they compete? Probably not. Plus, they chose not to compete in the large data transfer or video streaming markets, but instead to focus solely on E-commerce for now. CDNs will likely remain the solution of choice for the largest data streams, as well as in specific regions where Instart Logic currently has no nodes. Instart Logic has found a way to use software to “future-proof” the content delivery challenge and eliminate the tradeoff between speed and the richness of the experience. If your business depends on your web applications, ESG recommends that evaluate the Instart Logic Software-defined Application Delivery platform.
  12. 12. ESG Lab Review: Software-Defined Application Delivery with Instart Logic 12 © 2014 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Appendix Figure 8 shows the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending October 5th , consisting of 30 total retailers, with 28 having standalone m-commerce sites and two having responsive design sites (highlighted in light blue). Figure 8. Keynote Systems Mobile Commerce Top 30 Index Source: Keynote Systems Inc., provided exclusively to Internet Retailer Keynote measures, exclusively for Internet Retailer, 28 standalone m-commerce sites optimized for smartphones and two responsive design sites, which are single sites that render content in ways that fit the screen size of a device, including desktop PCs, tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. For the index, Keynote measures the smartphone versions of the responsive sites. The 30 representative sites include merchants in multiple categories and channels, and of multiple sizes. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. through midnight EDT, emulating the Apple iPhone 5 smartphone on two different wireless networks: AT&T and Sprint, both using 3G, 4G and 4G LTE networks. Keynote runs the tests in Dallas, New York and San Francisco. Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. The goal of ESG Lab reports is to educate IT professionals about data center technology products for companies of all types and sizes. ESG Lab reports are not meant to replace the evaluation process that should be conducted before making purchasing decisions, but rather to provide insight into these emerging technologies. Our objective is to go over some of the more valuable feature/functions of products, show how they can be used to solve real customer problems and identify any areas needing improvement. ESG Lab’s expert third-party perspective is based on our own hands-on testing as well as on interviews with customers who use these products in production environments. This ESG Lab report was sponsored by Instart Logic. All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at 508.482.0188.