With the help of EdgeCast’s ADN, goedekers.com ensures fast loading times and a superior user experience during traffic spikes.
From modest beginnings as a home-based repair shop back in 1951, Goedeker’s has grown to become one of the largest independent retailers in America today. Offering brand name appliances, home furniture, and mattresses, Goedeker’s has earned a trusted name and outstanding reputation.
“What we’ve done is focus on customer service. We want our customers to feel as though they are buying from a hometown company”, explains Matt Davids, Director of SEO and Reputation Management at goedekers.com. “Everyone who visits goedekers.com will see our philosophy proudly displayed there. These are sincerely-held beliefs that shape how we deal with our customers.”
Part of this promise to customers is ensuring a superior shopping experience online. “We want to provide the best possible experience to our customers, from the first time they visit our site through their last purchase from us”, says Jeff Minor, CTO of goedekers.com. “A great site that is fast is imperative to meeting this goal. When site speed suffers, we immediately see and hear its impact from our customers.”
Before moving goedekers.com on to the EdgeCast network, the site experienced these kind of performance challenges. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2012, the website crashed twice due to high traffic. Also, the average page load time skyrocketed to over 16 seconds during that period.
Fast forward to 2013: After implementing EdgeCast’s Application Delivery Network (ADN), Goedeker’s team did not have to worry about web performance and uptime during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
By Jacqueline Mak, Software Architect, and Gustavo Terraciano, Manager, Software Engineering, EdgeCast Portals Team
Every day, our EdgeCast REST APIs get around 1.5 million requests. Roughly a third of those are customer purge requests. In order to handle this enormous (and growing) amount of data, our technology has to constantly evolve.
A critical part of this scaling process is deploying high performant hardware. At the same time, we are improving our network’s ability to respond more quickly to API requests, so more calls can be processed.
The move from SOAP to REST API in late 2009
As a means to offer a framework for data integration to our clients, in 2006 we started providing SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to retrieve account information, to manage CDN configurations, and to receive reporting information.
Back then, SOAP was the industry standard for the Microsoft stack and provided a secure way of automatically exchanging account information between us and our clients.
Limitations of SOAP
Since SOAP relies on a very strict XML specification, we experienced several integration issues with clients that were not using Microsoft technology. SOAP libraries for different technologies were not standardized, which resulted in problems for our clients that were using languages such as Java (in this particular case, we couldn’t parse and serialize a SOAP envelope to Java).
By Hanni Chehak, Marketing Manager, Events
For any company, expanding internationally deserves a moment or two to celebrate. On November 13th, EdgeCast was very pleased to officially announce the opening of our first brick and mortar office outside of the US, and welcome our newest headquarters, EdgeCast UK.
The new swish 3,000 square foot office is stationed in Covent Gardens area of London. To celebrate the accomplishment, EdgeCast hosted the launch event at the Soho House in London. Guests from all of the European region joined us, including top tier companies with representatives from IKEA, JD Williams, Hearst, and our reseller TeliaSonera to name a few.
For Ted Middleton, VP of Product Management, web performance is not only a feature; web performance is the product. In his presentation at Velocity EU in London, Ted focused on scale as both a challenge and opportunity for EdgeCast to improve our performance.
Speaking about what he calls the magnifying effect, Ted explains how any change in code, cache retention, or other modification, multiplied by tens of thousands of servers and multiple cache instances, can yield significant improvement for our network and our clients.
By Alejandro Proaño, Core Engineering Intern
At Edgecast, our team of engineers is continuously working on research, development, maintenance and deployment of software that allows us to meet the demands of our customers and the CDN market. This process is closely monitored to ensure that it produces the expected results and does not affect the normal operations of our customers.
Once the new version of code is developed, it goes through multiple layers of unit and load tests. Furthermore, we test the new code under small sample of production traffic. We collect and monitor several metrics that help us evaluate the performance of the new code at each stage of testing and deployment.
Moreover, we carefully compare the performance of the new code with the old one, looking for anomalies in the behavior of our network that could negatively affect our clients and customers operations.
However, the comparison between the two versions of the code bears some challenges. For instance, consider the following figure in which we show the behavior of the performance metric “Cache Mbits” over a two-day span. Here, we divide our servers in Miami into two groups, and both groups run the same version of the code.
We make two important observations: (a) the behavior of the metric is cyclic over a period of 1 day, and (b) even though the two curves follow a similar tendency, at certain times of the day, there is a significant offset between the performances of the two groups of servers.
By EdgeCast’s Route DNS team
Just this past August, in the midst of political instability within Syria, The New York Times was defaced by means of a DNS attack (screenshot of nytimes.com above). This attack, taken credit by the Syrian Electronic Army, was not only embarrassing to The New York Times, it was expensive as well.
$383,760 in lost advertising revenue
Based upon a quarterly reported digital ad revenue of $51.2 million, The Washington Post estimated lost advertising revenues to The New York Times at $5.33 per second. CNN reported that the Syrian Electronic Army claimed to have “hobbled the Times’ news site for roughly 20 hours,” which resulted in a loss of digital advertising revenue to The New York Times of approximately $383,760.
A small, yet critical infrastructure piece
How did a major website such as The New York Times go down? Wouldn’t such a major media outlet have multiple layers of technical redundancy in place to handle any potential system fault or failure? In fact, The New York Times had neglected one small but critical portion of their infrastructure: DNS (Domain Name Service). By exploiting the DNS infrastructure supporting The New York Times, hackers brought the entire website to its knees.
The role of DNS
By Daniel Lockhart, Development Operations Engineer, EdgeCast
I recently returned from Velocity: New York, and I have been thinking quite a bit about how so many of the talks seemed eerily related to what I have been focused on at work here at EdgeCast; namely reliability and how to prevent system failures. Now, I am sure a lot of that was simply something similar to the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon at work (where you hear again about something soon after you first learn about it), but there is still something comforting about knowing others are facing similar problems. I have reliability on my mind, and I am seeing it everywhere.
Building an Antifragile System
There were two talks in particular that planted ideas that have been bouncing around in my head ever since I got back to California. The first was titled “Resilience in Complex Adaptive Systems: Operating at the Edge of Failure” by Richard Cook. The second was “Conditions of Failure: Building Antifragile Systems and Organizations” by Dave Zwieback. While each talk approached the topic from a different angle, they both addressed reliability in the way we face it here at EdgeCast.
When first building out an infrastructure, the initial focus is redundancy; having two database servers for failover, or maybe even a second set of servers ready to go in a different datacenter, for example. This way, if a hard drive on a server fails or a datacenter loses connectivity, you have a backup ready to take over. However, downtime from a lack of redundancy is something we will rarely face at EdgeCast. We have thousands of servers all over the world, and hard drive failures and connectivity issues are problems we solve everyday.
What keeps us up at night is the unknown risk of systemic failure.
The Black Swan, or: the risk of systemic failure
One such failure Dave Zwieback mentioned in his talk was the leap second bug that hit many online services last year. He categorizes this as a Black Swan Event, a phrase coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to describe a (practically) unpredictable and rare event that has an outsize impact. When these sorts of events occur, our natural reaction is to try and convince ourselves that the event COULD have been predicted and prevented.
“Building a Faster and Stronger Web” sounds like the perfect description for what we do at EdgeCast. In this case, however, it is the tagline of Velocity Conference in New York.
This year, our Chief Architect Rob Peters, was invited to speak at the conference about EdgeCast’s contribution to a faster, stronger web. Rob’s topic: How visualization can help detect bugs, and ultimately, improve performance.
This intro slide from Rob’s presentation plays on the notion that in web performance, you can’t fix a problem until you can reproduce it (described well by Mehdi Khalili on his blog).
We recently introduced EdgeCast route, our globally distributed DNS (Domain Name System) service.
In these two short clips – which are part of an interview conducted at Velocity Conference 2013 in NYC – Ted Middleton, our VP of Product Management, explains
- Why EdgeCast introduced a secure, high-performance DNS service
- How DNS is integrated into EdgeCast’s CDN offering and pricing
Running one of the world’s busiest CDNs means also building a secure, high-performance DNS service, since “DNS is instrumental in operating a global network”, Ted explains:
With EdgeCast Route, customers can manage primary and secondary DNS. Over the years we’ve learned a lot about how to accelerate name look-ups and delivery, which led to a DNS service which is “layered out with a sophisticated, enterprise-class traffic management, policy-based routing”, as Ted points out:
In the fast-moving world of news publishing, the ability to quickly update or edit stories is a critical business need. Whether it’s to fix an inaccuracy or update a fast-moving story as it develops, stale or inaccurate information can have a serious reputational impact.
In some cases, a mistake is (unintentionally) funny and perceived as ‘wonderful’ (like the ‘Test Kitten’ of Chicago Tribune front page fame) but in many cases, such things can have a damaging effect on a publisher’s brand.
And in today’s hyper-connected world, reporting stale, incomplete, or inaccurate information can have a rippling effect far beyond the original news outlet. Global markets react in milliseconds to breaking news stories while media organizations increasingly quote Tweets and bloggers to stay ahead.
For established publishing brands, keeping a breaking story fresh and accurate is both a differentiator and challenge.