How to deliver great performance for global apps on IBM Cloud

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Business Challenge

A large telecommunications service provider in Europe wants to serve customers in Brazil from their Frankfurt, Germany location. One challenge with such large geographical distances is achieving consistently low latency in order to provide a good user experience. Another challenge is scaling the infrastructure to handle a large number of user requests during peak traffic conditions.

In this case, much of the content to be delivered is static, such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript (JS), image files, and so on.

First, we replicated the customer scenario using test files with representative sizes (4 KB, 100 KB, and 1 MB). A client in São Paulo fetched files from an Origin host (web server) in Frankfurt, and the average access times were:

  • Small file (4KB); 385 milliseconds (ms)
  • Large file (1MB); 1,628 ms, or 1.6 seconds

As you can see, the wait times for these files were long, which can lead to dissatisfied customers.

IBM Solution

The IBM Cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN) service, powered by Akamai, provides an ideal solution in this scenario:

  • It leverages a network of distributed servers around the world and caches content closest to the end users.
  • Initial user requests are redirected to the Edge servers most geographically close to the user location. The Edge server fetches the content from the Origin host and caches it. Once data is cached, all subsequent user requests from that region are served directly from the Edge server’s cache. This drastically reduces the distance and time taken to serve user requests.
  • The Edge server only contacts the Origin host to refresh cache content.
  • The cached content’s refresh time can be customized, ranging from 30 seconds to more than 60 years.

Comparing performance between files accessed directly from the Origin host and those accessed from the IBM Cloud CDN service, IBM Cloud CDN performed 8x to 14x faster:

File size Without CDN With CDN*
Small file (4KB) 385 ms 45 ms
Medium file (100KB) 954 ms 83 ms
Large file (1MB) 1,628 ms 113 ms

*Results may vary depending on operating environment.

In addition, IBM Cloud CDN service provides the following benefits:

  • Large number of CDN Edge servers for handling millions of user requests from across the world and helping you scale your service.
  • Reduction of network bandwidth utilization on the Origin network, diminishing the overall costs of hosting the web service.
  • Shielding for Origin servers, providing support for sudden surges of traffic.
  • Object Storage origin, HTTPS delivery, support for multiple Origins, and optimization for applications that serve videos or other large files.

Learn more

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