Well, wasn’t that fun? On June 8, 2021, many internet users went to their usual sites such as Amazon, Reddit, CNN, or the New York Times and found nothing but an “Error 503 service unavailable” and an ominous “connection failure” note. So, what happened? The Fastly Content Delivery Network (CDN) had gone down: Hard.
When the internet began as ARPANet its job was to deliver fault tolerance and robust connectivity even if there were a nuclear war. When it became commercial in 1993 thanks to the web and the Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX) other features became important. In particular, everyone started demanding faster performance and lower latency.
The solution? CDNs. These companies, which besides Fastly include market-leader Akamai and Cloudflare, all use the same basic techniques to speed up the net. They take the data from popular sites and place it in distributed caches in points of presence (PoP) close to consumers.
If that sounds familiar to you even if you’re a cloud native developer and not a network administrator there’s a good reason. CDNs were one of the first business models to rely on an edge computing model.