Leveraging the cloud to unlock better user experiences
How does cloud optimization drive higher-quality user experiences? The answer goes beyond speed. Clearly, fast page loads at the user's point of engagement are critical, whether in a traditional computing environment or on a mobile device. But with increasingly dynamic content that's fueled by a variety of data and content sources, achieving the speeds demanded by users is a growing challenge.
User tolerance for slow or incomplete page loads continues to wane. This is especially obvious in the online retail space, where there has long been a documented relationship between page load times and transaction abandonment. From four seconds, down to 2 seconds, down to a single second, shoppers are losing patience with poor site performance. Other types of site users can't be far behind. Given the scope and scale of data used to create a growing number of online experiences, traditional infrastructure is poorly designed to search for, gather, assemble and deliver dynamic content. This is especially true under load, whether from user traffic or data-intensive transactions. Cloud computing offers an attractive alternative.
A more scalable, high-capacity solution...
The reasons the cloud is so attractive as a platform for dynamic site delivery are simple. First, it offers near-infinite scalability as compared to traditional server architecture. This scalability enables cloud-based site infrastructure to handle virtually any traffic demands, and bandwidth is available on demand to deliver data-intensive dynamic experiences. These include highly customized, personalized pages; rich media including near HD-quality TV; and bandwidth- intensive applications like video-conferencing and web presentations.
…with limitations that must be overcome
The main performance challenge facing traditional cloud computing environments is rooted in their architecture. First-generation cloud platforms were housed in a relatively small number of relatively large, high- capacity data centers. Even when these large data centers are housed in the world's largest networks, the average distance between the data center and the end user can be more than 1500 miles.
A distributed network is the answer
While these large, central data centers are effective for providing scalability and capacity, performance suffers as the distance between the data center and the end user increases. That's why optimizing the cloud for maximum performance involves a more distributed cloud, with capacity located in many locations, closer to end users. This reduces the number of network 'hops' that every request, every piece of data, every bit of content must make to reach the end user. The shorter the distance, the fewer network hops, the greater the speed, and the better the user experience. It's really that simple.
How to deliver optimization to cloud providers and users
For a global user base, a global network of servers is needed in order to serve content from locations as close as possible to end users, thereby cutting down on the number of network hops. Depending on the user base, this may require several servers or it may require several thousand servers.
Having servers distributed globally however isn't the complete answer. Cloud providers also need to employ dynamic route optimization technology, which identifies fast, reliable routes in real time as user requests come in.
Akamai's Intelligent Platform™, made up of more than 160,000 servers in networks, all over the world, is the foundation of Akamai's solution for cloud performance. Learn more about Akamai's cloud optimization solutions and see how we can help you delivery better experiences to users all over the world, on any device, at any time.