It’s no secret that in the 25 years of the web’s existence, we’ve become increasingly impatient. What used to be the 10-second rule of performance in 1997 has rapidly shrunk from eight, to four, to threeseconds. Now, at the first sign of inconsistency, most of us will decide that a site can’t deliver the experience we want. And, as we have little charity for poor-performing applications, we then disappear. Forever.
Our impatience isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We simply know now what is possible from the applications that are successfully being served up on the web. Sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, Airbnb, Dropbox, Netflix, serve up some of the most popular applications on the web without compromising on performance. As discerning users, we naturally wonder why these sites can accomplish this feat while others seemingly cannot.
The answer? They use an application delivery toolkit to serve their performance hungry users. And not in the way you might think.
Many people may be familiar with high-performance webservers for handling the never-ending growth of inbound connections. That’s great—but they can actually do much more. The more sophisticated sites mentioned above, for example, are using the combination of features in high performance webservers and proxies as an application acceleration toolkit.
There is no single “silver bullet” when it comes to increasing performance and improving the end-user experience. But here are five key reasons why application acceleration toolkits work:
1. Enhance the power of your existing front end
By off-loading the heavy lifting of HTTP from your app servers, you increase your capacity for handling inbound, concurrent traffic—giving you greater efficiency and performance.
2. Intelligently route traffic to the appropriate back-end resource pools
Every server need not be the same. You can specialize; tune some servers for fast content delivery without authentication; tune others for high-security transaction processing. Route each request to the appropriate resource pool and get responses back to the client without delays. This technique alone can greatly improve performance as well as security.
3. Load-balance traffic within pools of servers
Many load-balancing disciplines— which allow traffic to spread evenly between servers—are available that will allow you to disperse traffic across multitudes of servers and pools of resources. Again, this improves performance—as well as availability.