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3 Ways to Prevent Global Internet Outages

A software bug triggered by an unidentified customer of Fastly, a CDN provider, brought nearly 10% of the Internet’s traffic to a halt. So what happened and how can this be avoided?

It’s hard to imagine Amazon, Reddit, Twitch, Pinterest, The Guardian, New York Times, Stack Overflow, GitHub and a host of other sites going dark on the same day, but it happened on June 8. The reason was due to a software bug triggered by an unidentified customer of Fastly, the CDN provider for the above sites that went dark. It’s perhaps overly dramatic to call it the day the internet crashed, considering it was limited to a few sites, albeit highly visited sites. The global internet outage, however, raises questions about the reliability of CDNs and how it could be avoided in the future.

Historically, it’s safe to say that CDNs are highly reliable, even with the Fastly internet outage on Tuesday, Cloudflare last July, and AWS in November. CDN providers have proven to be extremely resilient and effective over time, so the real question is about how we can avoid internet outages in the future. To say that there is a surefire way to completely eliminate network outages is rather ambitious and unrealistic, but there are three immediate things you can do to ensure continuity of service.

  1. Have a multi CDN deployment model - From a setup standpoint, there is some work in configuration and maintenance upfront. The misconception is that having multiple CDNs will cost you more money, but that’s not necessarily true because typical pricing for public CDN is a pay-per-use model. Meaning, if no traffic is going through your secondary public CDN, then there is no charge. Another option is to deploy a private CDN, where there will be an initial hardware cost but depending on how you use your private CDN, you could offset some of the cost from your public CDN and the initial cost will pay for itself very quickly.

  2. Configure DNS routing within multi network CDN - All CDN providers have some monitoring capabilities, but if you had a robust tool that can monitor availability of specific web pages, apps, or assets instead of the general health of the server, coupled with instant alerts, perhaps you can get ahead of the problem faster, provided that you have the backup of a secondary CDN.

  3. Install Enhanced Monitoring Tools - All CDN providers have some monitoring capabilities, but if you had a robust tool that can monitor availability of specific web pages, apps, or assets instead of the general health of the server, coupled with instant alerts, perhaps you can get ahead of the problem faster, provided that you have the backup of a secondary CDN.

As experts in multi CDN and hybrid CDN deployment, SuperLumin can advise on and discuss how best to utilize a content delivery network for your business.

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