Prevent-Global-Internet-Outages-SuperLumin

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.

“The solution has provided bandwidth savings and eliminated the buffering issues when viewing the training videos. Also, with the training available at each store, it eliminates the need to have employees travel for training which saves Safeway a lot of money."

-Kathleen Richins, Satellite Network Manager, Safeway

Challenges

With 30-50 users per location requiring access to the videos at any one time, Safeway’s existing multicast network couldn’t keep up. The cache had limited storage and capabilities with only 80GB of disk space for each server. This resulted in slow user response times and stores constantly needing to remove existing files to make room for new ones. Plus, when it was time to download new videos, employees spent as much time waiting for the videos to finish buffering as they did watching them. They needed a solution.

How SuperLumin Helped

Safeway implemented a complete end-to-end eCDN (Enterprise Content Delivery Network) content acceleration solution using technology provided by SuperLumin, a STRATACACHE company. This technology allows content to be replicated from central content servers to each store without any human intervention.

The SuperLumin content caching servers now used at each location have a 1TB disk capacity, eliminating the worry of running out of disk space. Any content updates are automatically handled and replicated for each store.

In addition to content acceleration, Safeway is using STRATACACHE Constellation Manager and OmniCast solutions to automatically deliver the latest training videos to each location - without buffering - while automatically removing videos that are no longer relevant. SuperLumin also provides centralized management and monitoring of all Safeway stores using a single, easy to use interface.

“The limited human intervention in media content distribution on a day to day basis is the biggest win not only for our IT team that manages it but also the store employees who no longer have to make phone calls and submit feedback for missing content.”

– Kathleen Richins, Satellite Network Manager, Safeway

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Safeway can now deliver the most current training content to all locations quickly and easily, saving time and money, while improving the user experience for their valued employees.

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