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Why application acceleration is crucial

Can you tell us briefly what you do?

CDNetworks accelerates the public internet throughout the world with a mission to transform the internet into a secure, reliable, scalable and high performing application delivery network. We accelerate more than 40,000 global websites and cloud applications over our 140 points of presence (PoPs) in established markets as well as the fast growing economies of South America, China and Russia.

The central role that the web plays in all industries is reflected in our varied customer base which includes finance, travel, ecommerce, learning management, high tech, manufacturing and media businesses. We work with some of the best-known brands in the world, such as Virgin, Hyundai, Zipcar and Samsung, enabling mission-critical e-business and supporting our customers' expansion into new markets.

Why do we need content delivery networks?

We spend too much time waiting in our daily lives, whether it's sitting in traffic or standing in a slow moving queue at the supermarket. If given the choice, we would not wait an extra second for anything. This is especially true online... you probably wouldn't even be reading this article if you had to wait a second longer for the page to load.

We will abandon any site in a heartbeat if we feel that it is taking too long to load. Competition for visits and clicks on the internet is fierce, and our patience diminishes as we get more accustomed to faster loading websites and take speed for granted.

Web performance has a direct correlation with transaction abandonment and sales, and using content delivery networks can help increase revenue.

Who needs web application acceleration?

Slow applications affect productivity. Remote workers rely on the internet to access applications and the internet is inherently unreliable. Application acceleration not only ensures fast access to mission-critical applications, such as ERP, CRM, and content management, but also increases reliability and accessibility from remote location.

How does web application acceleration work?

From a technical point of view, the standard internet delivery path for applications requires both the request and data return to travel through multiple connecting (peering) points/routers between the end user and the server the application is hosted on. This process is repeated for every object (files, images, data etc...) that makes up the application.

Put simply – imagine taking a flight from London to New York City and having to make 6 additional connecting flights. In addition, the plane you are taking is not capable of transporting all your bags, so you are required to take everything out and transport each item separately on subsequent flights, through the same multi-connection flight path. It would be 30 hours later before you get to New York and another week before all your belongings arrive. The other potential problem is you may not receive all your belongings, as they may have gotten lost at one of the many transition points.

From an application delivery standpoint, you can see why the standard internet delivery path may not be ideal and can cause potential performance issues. Web application acceleration offers a more direct flight path between London and New York City with less connecting flights. The amount of time required to get to JFK with all your belongings will be drastically reduced.

You recently launched a new point-of-presence in Brazil – can you tell us a bit more about this implementation and the drivers for it?

Our new PoP in Rio de Janeiro has arrived just in time for the FIFA World Cup™ next year. The country expects to host 600,000 football fans, and needs an infrastructure to support the surge in traffic to travel and accommodation websites in the run-up to the event.

Thanks to this PoP, we decrease the load time of a website hosted in London for example, from potentially 10-15 seconds in Brazil down to just two seconds. These seconds are a deal breaker, ensuring that travel companies won't lose potential customers looking to find the best deals for flights and hotels to competition due to a slow website.

Will there be a need for the new PoP beyond the FIFA World Cup too?

Yes certainly, Brazil is also hosting the Olympics in 2016. In addition, Brazil's internet usage has more than doubled in the past three years from 38 million to 88 million online users. The country has a massive potential for ecommerce growth with internet penetration at only about 45 per cent of the close to 200 million population.

According to the global payments consultancy WorldPay, buyers in Brazil spend 27 per cent of their disposable income online, compared to a worldwide average of 22 per cent. It' clear that the country needs a robust infrastructure to support the rapid growth of its digital economy.

Looking ahead, which region or market offers great opportunities for online business?

It is no longer news that China has the largest and fastest growing online population. China's online population has reached 591 million with 44 per cent of the country's population online, and this growth is expected to continue.

China's government is determined to accelerate the country's online penetration even further with a new stimulus programme that aims to encourage spending on IT related products and services. It's likely that this initiative will drastically boost sales in PCs and smartphones, boosting the growth of the country's already fast expanding online population.

Foreign companies that look to do business in China need to act quickly so that they're able to capitalise on the huge opportunities offered by this market. At CDNetworks, we want to ensure that the country's internet infrastructure won't buckle under the pressure of millions of new web users.

Jeff Kim is President & COO for CDNetworks US/EMEA and is responsible for overall business operations. Jeff's responsibilities include leading sales, service, marketing, service and support. Jeff has championed the development of CDNetworks' Web Performance Suite, and in positioning CDNetworks as the trusted global advisor to enterprise companies with mission critical applications.

Image: Flickr (Sebástian Freire;