Sitting between you and web pages … By: Amit Chaudhary
What is Silk?• A web browser• Developed by Amazon• Launched on November 15, 2011
Features• A High Configuration Cloud• Dynamic Splitting• Persisting Connections• Page Indexes (Limitless Cache)• Optimized Content Delivery• Machine Learning
Existing ScenarioCurrently, all gadgets (tablets, PCs, PDAs, etc) process thewebpages at different speeds, therefore time taken by a cell-phone to render the page will be more than the same task done byPCs.
High Configuration CloudYour device has some limits like lowprocessor (700MHz), less mainmemory (512 MB), but AmazonCloud has no limits.- More than 600 GB RAM- 8-Core CPUs- Optical NetworkSo, the hurdles to access thewebpages of size more than 10MB,are completely removed by SILK asall the computing is done on Cloudand not on your device.
Loading ......Webpages do not just contain text, butloads of images, CSS, displayinformation, HTML, and many more toname.Today’s webpages are rich in design butalso consume more processing at theuser end. The device may not be able tosatisfy the needs of webpage, at thattime you are stuck with the term“Loading” which will never end unlessyou close your browser and make therequest again
Dynamic SplittingHere, SILK decides which components of the page need to be rendered by thedevice and which by the cloud. As you can see in the second image, exceptnetworking, and collections, everything is given to the cloud to be processed.
How does it make decisions?• Amazon has a long history of predicting what its users will like based on browsing habits• It will be collecting enormous amounts of information from its users to determine traffic pattern to guess where the user might go next• Silk’s EC2 component will decide which files are worth handling on their servers and the rest will be loaded as usual
Persistent ConnectionsWhen you load a webpage, theresources that you find on that pageare not from the same server.Different elements like RSS feeds,links of other pages, videos fromYouTube, images from Picasa,documents from Google Drive, etc.are stored on separate servers.HTTP will make request to eachserver and bring you the contentone by one, which causes you towait for few more seconds than youdreamt of. In the image, a websitetakes about 1337 ms to load thewhole page.
…. continuedAmazon SILK comes to rescueyou here. It firsts gathers all thepages on its cloud, andcompresses the content andthen sends it as an envelope ofdata to you, creating illusion ofonly one path between you andyour webpage.So, now it takes only 5 microseconds to load the same pagethat took 1337 ms without thisfeature.
Page IndexesWe have all studied the concept ofcache memory, and we also knowthe pros and cons of it.If I talk about advantages, then itstores all the recent browsedcontent/webpages, to avoid theround-trips to the server.But on the other side of the coin,our device does have limitedmemory, so very less content canbe accommodated. What to do if adevice needs more?
Limitless cacheThe solution to it is, that thecache is maintained byAmazon on its cloud; noteven a single byte is occupiedby your device. Your images,CSS, HTML pages, everythingis cached, so whenever youtell your browser to requestthe same page that you did itbefore, it will load from theAmazon’s cache and not fromyours.
Optimized Content DeliveryHave you ever downloadedthe image? The obviousanswer is YES. But how muchtime it takes to get that imageon your gadget? Probablymore. If the image is of lessersize, than it is downloaded infew seconds, even thoughyou have 2G Plans, and whatif the size is bigger, you willmove a step back, not todownload.
…. continuedAnd now, if you download thesame image from theAmazon’s cloud, it willconvert your file from MBs toKBs. In the image shown, a3MB file is converted into50KB.This is one way to get theitems quickly with a low cost(if your plan is not unlimited.)
Machine LearningThe prediction feature, I mustsay, is well applied byAmazon’s SILK.It will determine yourbrowsing pattern, and loadthe pages (on the cloud fromdifferent servers) even if youhave not requested. Butwhen you really need them …
…. continuedit will deliver the content toyour browser upon the clickof any link as if it was storedon the device.
But how is data transferred?Silk reduces the average round-trip latency(using SPDY Protocol developed by Google) ofwireless connections from 100 millisecond downto 5 milliseconds, and this is for all the stuff thatresides outside of Amazon’s Web Servicesinfrastructure. Sites hosted and files alreadystored on EC2 (Elastic Cloud Computing) or S3(Simple Storage Service) are set at an evengreater advantage
…… continued• Loading all those individual files mostly takes time because of all overhead of separately requesting them• In an attempt to avoid these issues, SPDY uses a single SSL-encrypted session between a browser and a client, and then compresses all the requests/response overhead• The requests, responses, and data are all put into frames that are multiplexed over the one connection
…… continued• This makes it possible to send a higher-priority small file without waiting for the transfer of a large file that’s already in progress to terminate• Compressing the requests is helpful in typical ADSL/cable setups, where uplink speed is limited• So, unnecessary duplicated headers in requests and responses are done away
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