Take Back Control of Content Delivery

September 17, 2013 - by Jim Farrell and Jim Young

At Joyent we truly believe the cloud is the future of IT—and that often means pushing the boundaries of what people think the cloud is capable of. Joyent innovations include open source projects such as Node.js, SmartOS and DTrace and Joyent Manta Storage Service, the world’s first all-in-one cloud storage and compute service. Our customers and partners view us as leader in innovation and look to Joyent to help them innovate their businesses.

In many cases, we work with customers who are looking to use the cloud to improve current solutions. Joyent is committed to creating more flexible and scalable solutions across all industries, and we frequently collaborate with others to realize that vision. One example of that is our latest project with Riverbed, who teamed with Joyent and some of our top customers to improve and innovate around content delivery.

Problem: Traditional CDNs Can Be Very Expensive

Many of you are familiar with using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to deliver content to customers around the world. While CDNs improve application delivery, a growing number of users report the overall cost of CDN services and the lack of control are barriers to expansion. For many companies, their CDN costs increase up to 78% per year and, for some, CDN costs are increasing as much as 45% every month. The only way to manage costs in this model is to give up on some functionality or flexibility. Working with customers living with this daily challenge, we innovated a solution to supplement or even replace the typical service of a CDN by leveraging application traffic management using Riverbed software.

Enter the Content Delivery Cloud (CDC):

The Joyent CDC is a fast and efficient delivery platform for applications. Unlike a CDN which leverages a global network of servers to deliver content for all CDN customers, the Joyent Content Delivery Cloud utilizes public or private Joyent infrastructure to provide the points of presence that offer a private ‘CDN like’ experience for the delivery of your content. Riverbed Stingray enables these services without the need for large initial capital investment or a complex infrastructure.

How does it work?

At the core of the CDC is the Riverbed Stingray Traffic Manager. Stingray is the only software-designed advanced application delivery controller (ADC) available today. In addition to balancing workloads for your applications and services, Stingray controls and optimizes services by inspecting, transforming, prioritizing and routing traffic. Stingray’s software form factor allows it to be deployed quickly in environments such as the Joyent Cloud.

The first step in creating the CDC is to deploy Stingray at the location where the application resides. Acting as a reverse proxy, Stingray terminates requests from end users and load balances traffic over optimized connections to the application. Stingray reduces the strain placed on application infrastructure with network-level buffering, protocol optimizations, and application specific measures such as dynamic compression and caching. The result is reduced latency, increased capacity & availability and enhanced service levels. Because Stingray deployment requires no change to the application these benefits are achieved quickly and painlessly.

The second part of the CDC configuration utilizes two key features of Stingray:

  1. Content Caching: when enabled this feature causes Stingray to store data that has been requested in its local cache. Subsequent requests for the same data can be served directly from the cache, reducing the response time and reducing the load on the application servers.

  2. Global Load Balancing (GLB): a service endpoint or URL can resolve to multiple locations. With GLB configured Stingray will route requests to the closest location, reducing the latency that may otherwise be incurred when the request is routed to the origin location and the response is sent from the origin location to the end user.

Leveraging these two features, additional Stingray Traffic Managers can be deployed at one or more edge locations closer to end users. After GLB routes a request to the best available edge location, Stingray determines if the requested resource is available in its local content cache. If the resource is not available locally, or is dynamic, the edge Traffic Manager requests it from the origin site and stores static objects for subsequent requests.

The CDC can grow and shrink as required. As demand increases, a new edge location can be quickly deployed. Similarly, an edge location can be removed as traffic levels decrease, without impacting the ability to deliver the service. For both edge and origin locations Stingray can be installed on physical hardware, private clouds and public clouds. The flexibility of the CDC design supports multiple origin locations if required for performance and availability.

The Content Delivery Cloud is the only complete software-based Layer 7 application delivery controller (ADC) with integrated content optimization and application firewall--all supported under one unified set of cloud solutions. Built-in TrafficScript language allows for full control over how individual requests are optimized, routed and transformed. In addition, the ability to inspect and process application traffic, with support for full payload inspection and streaming for multiple protocols, lets you constantly improve site and application load times.

How do I get started?

To get started, download the full Deployement Guide, then take advantage of the Joyent Free Trial offer. Engage Joyent’s cloud experts! They are always available to help scope your requirements and will even show you a live demo that runs your site traffic through a standing configuration of CDC so that you can watch your latency plummet. This is an ideal first step for customers that would like to see for themselves the power of this solution before diving into the Guide. Contact our experts with any questions.

Even if you use an existing CDN service, you’ll be thrilled to find out that others have already been running the Content Delivery Cloud in parallel with their existing CDN to handle overages more cost effectively. And, when customers see the massive performance and cost benefits over time, they start to rapidly migrate workloads from their CDN to the Content Delivery Cloud.

Learn more about this alternative for content delivery.