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Overcome Web Performance Obstacles
for SaaS Applications Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 2
Table of Contents
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
The Challenge of Delivering a Sustained Productive SaaS Experience . . . . . . . 5
Dynamic HTML Generation Is Fast, So Why Are Users Complaining? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Starting Up a HTTPS Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Congestion and Packet Loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Browser Execution Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The Combined Effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The Web Application Streaming Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Global Network Accelerator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
The Right Approach for the Right Segment of the Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
The Wired First Mile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
An Ingenious New Approach to the Middle Mile With the Inter-Proxy Transfer Protocol (IPTP) . . . . 10
Last Mile Network Optimization Built for the Wireless World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Built for Application-intelligent Streaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Dynamic HTML Streaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
How the System Distinguishes Unique from Non-unique Dynamic HTML . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
True Fidelity Image Streaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 3
Executive Summary:
Providers of software as a service (SaaS) applications face increasing challenges in delivering their
product the way customers demand it: fast, consistent, reliable, non-frustrating, and always keeping
them productive. The obstacles they face include:
Unpredictable network conditions and congestion
Packet loss and connection ramp-up times
Overburdened mobile and Wi-Fi networks
Demand for increasingly immersive experiences to improve user acceptance
High levels of interactivity for modern web applications
Distance between the end user and the server, and the latency that can cause
Ineffcient protocols designed for a less mobile era of the Web
The impact of temporary or peak-usage slowdowns on user acceptance and seat license sales
User impatience and the need to reduce time-to-interaction or lose seat license sales
The inability of CDNs to effectively improve the mobile users experience
The diffculty CDNs have handling highly dynamic web applications
Instart Logic looked at every segment of the pathway from originating server to the end users browser
running web-based applications, and at the applications themselves, to create an interlocking set of
innovations that dramatically improve performance and end user experiences:
The underlying acceleration platform (called the Web Application Streaming Network)
The Global Network Accelerator, which address bottlenecks in the First Mile, the Middle Mile,
and the wireless Last Mile in turn, the connections along each segment, and the protocols that
control them
Dynamic HTML Streaming, which uses application intelligence to handle personalized, dynamic
content with greater speed and tackle the issue of wasted browser execution cycles.
These solutions from Instart Logic completely replace and surpass existing CDNs. This white paper
details their operations, functions, and interaction. Encompassing in its scope, Web Application
Streaming solves many of the issues that SaaS providers face on a 24/7 basis. The best way to leverage
this new technology is to understand its components and how they work together, as described in this
white paper. Then via a Performance Proof or an actual trial with real traffc evaluate how effective it
is in improving the true performance of your web-based applications. Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 4
Introduction: The Changing Application Landscape
Business application acceleration, in the past, was conducted wholly within the confnes of the
corporate network. Business applications were created and hosted internally in corporate datacenters.
The users were mostly in headquarters and branch offce locations. WAN Optimization Controllers
(WOC) were the tool of choice to enhance user experiences by accelerating applications over the
network. Corporate IT placed a WAN optimization device in their centralized data center and another
in each branch offce to give corporate users quicker access to business applications. This required
dedicated equipment at both ends of corporate networks, but it worked well and provided better speed
and sustained productivity for workers located remotely from the location where the business applica-
tions were hosted.
The model of application delivery is now changing dramatically with the adoption of cloud-based SaaS
(Software as a Service) applications. Gartner expects the global value of SaaS spending to hit $45 billion
in 2017, up from $15 billion in 2012. With this new model, the WAN optimization solutions of the past
no longer apply. For cloud-based SaaS, the application backend is no longer a single location within the
enterprise; today, each cloud application is hosted in different locations around the world.
Not only has the application infrastructure shifted, so have the users. A record number of users now
access their business applications from outside corporate and branch offce locations. Increasingly, they
do this on their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With both application sources and end users in
fux, the traditional approach of placing one WAN optimization device next to the applications and then
another next to the end users is no longer possible.
SaaS providers and their customers are urgently searching for solutions to provide sustained productive,
low-frustration end user experiences. To date, SaaS providers have had few options for enhancing the
performance of their applications on end user devices. Traditional web acceleration solutions such
as CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) are ill-equipped to handle highly dynamic web-based business
Some CDN and WAN optimization vendors have tried to mash up their technologies by trying to deploy
WAN optimization devices in more locations but have had limited success. You simply cant deploy
enough WAN optimization equipment to cover all the locations where users and the applications live in
the modern Internet.
Providers of web-based SaaS can now take advantage of a set of new technologies that enables them
to deliver sustained, consistent and productive user experiences, irrespective of where the applications
and end users are located.
This white paper explores the challenges of delivering web-based SaaS applications to end users over
the modern Internet. It also explains new approaches to the First Mile, the Middle Mile, the wireless Last
Mile, Internet protocols, dynamic HTML streaming, and image streaming from Instart Logic that improve
the functioning of SaaS applications. Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 5
The Challenge of Delivering a Sustained Productive SaaS Experience
Those responsible for delivering SaaS web applications over the Internet encounter a range of
obstacles. Delays are introduced at the originating backend infrastructure servers running the appli-
cations all the way through to the end user browser which displays and executes the web application.
Lets focus on the four most acute problems. Delays are found:
At the originating server specifcally the time it takes for backend servers to create the dynamic
HTML required to display and execute a web application.
In the Middle Mile of the global Internet it takes times for information to travel across the
various Internet backbones between the origin web server and the end user.
In the wireless Last Mile the data must pass through congestion and variable networking
conditions on Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G wireless networks used by end users.
In the browser itself the time it takes for the browser to parse the web application code and
display the web application to users.
Dynamic HTML Generation Is Fast, So Why Are Users Complaining?
Most modern web application architectures allow for effcient generation of the dynamic HTML that
powers a web application. In practice, this typically means generating user-specifc HTML in one
second or less under general load conditions. Simple measurements of network delays between
backend web servers and the end users may show delays of under a second even for international
distances. Why are users complaining about poor load times and performance?
The answer lies in a combination of factors that introduce challenges along the delivery path. First,
the TCP, HTTP, and HTTPS protocols used for communication between backend web servers and end
users incur overhead. Second, packet loss has a cumulative impact on the effciency of data transfer.
Third, modern web applications are increasingly large and complex. Finally, the fourth cause is in delays
found in the web browser on the end users system.
A good starting point is with the overhead of initially establishing communication between the web
backend and the end users system.
Starting Up a HTTPS Connection
Lets take the example of a web server on the West Coast of the US, and the end user working from an
iPad in a coffee shop in the UK. Since most SaaS applications deliver sensitive data, we assume setting
up a secure connection via HTTPS, but this type of overhead also applies to HTTP transmissions. Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 6
In the fgure above, where the network latency is between 100 and 150 milliseconds, it can take close to
two seconds merely to establish the connection to the point where application data can be transferred.
Plus Internet protocols such as TCP have been designed to start off at a low level of effciency and
slowly learn the characteristics of the connection by ramping up over a period of time.
Congestion and Packet Loss
The next challenge: packets get dropped along the delivery path. With the massive rise in the use
of congested wireless networks such as 3G, 4G, and public and private Wi-Fi, the original protocols
designed for wired networks struggle to remain effcient.
Both the TCP and HTTPS protocols are very chatty, meaning they require signifcant back and forth
communication to establish a secure communication session. It typically takes between 10 and 12
trips between two devices to set up a connection. It can require more if one side decides to change
underlying characteristics of the connection, such as the type of encryption cypher used.
The TCP and HTTPS protocols interact in a manner such that, when packet loss or timeouts occur, the connec-
tions will ramp down and recovery can sometimes add seconds of penalty to the transfer. The ramp-down will
continue to impact the connection, as the recovery for stock protocols is designed to be slow.
Network latency from US webserver to UK based iPad
Diagram showing slow connection ramp along with back off and recovery due to congestion Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 7
Browser Execution Time
After the end user submits a request to load up a web application, the browser sits idle waiting for the
connections to be established, and then awaits the initial fow of dynamic HTML. Beyond the challenges of
initially transferring data to the end users device over the network, there remains the fact that the browser
still has to receive all the non-HTML data from the server before it can display everything on a page and
become interactive. JavaScript has to be loaded and parsed; images have to load, and the page must be
complete from the browsers viewpoint, before the user can actually begin to interact with the page that
was requested.
With the rapid adoption of HTML5 technologies and the higher levels of interactivity in modern web applica-
tions, the amount of JavaScript, images, style information, and HTML required has increased substantially.
The large size of the data transfers involved in a web application requires more time and computation to
execute and display on the screen.
The Combined Effect
Adding up the combined effects of poor performance in the browser and the network, the result is
noticeable delays and signifcant challenges to web application performance.
The Web Application Streaming Network
Instart Logics Web Application Streaming Network provides enhancements at both the networking and ap-
plication layer. This combined approach accelerates the delivery of data over global distances, as a starting
point, but its real power comes from making intelligent decisions about which subset of web application
data is the most important to download frst. It also tackles the problem of the new wireless Last Mile.
The Web Application Streaming Network allows end users to interact with a web application before the
entire download has completed. It also removes browser idle times created by requests for dynamic
HTML. Instart Logics cloud/client architecture links the browser on the end users device to our intelligent
streaming service in the cloud, helping to guide this service in determining which parts of a web application
are initially required for user interaction to begin. The Network streams that information frst.
One aspect that is a necessity for many application providers: the Web Application Streaming Network does
not require application providers to modify any code, nor do end users ever need to download any plug-ins
or applications. To direct the web publishers traffc through the Instart Logic service, just a simple change
to DNS settings is required. The technology works with standard browsers and does not require custom
plug-ins, custom browsers, or additional software.
What follows is a description of the key features of the Instart Logic Web Application Streaming Network
that allow for radically faster display of, and interaction with, even the most complex web applications. Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 8
Global Network Accelerator
Global Network Accelerator uses smart adaptive network acceleration to ensure speedy delivery of data
over Instart Logics globally-distributed service and automatically routes users to the nearest Instart
Logic servers. It ensures that highly dynamic web applications are blasted through network bottlenecks
to end users.
As discussed above, protocols such as TCP and HTTPS require iterations back and forth to set up
a connection. Then, it still takes time to ramp up the connection to maximum levels of effciency
and throughput. If the connection encounters any problems such as packet loss or timeouts, these
protocols ramp the connectivity way down and take a relatively long time to recover. As the distance
and congestion between the end user and the backend web servers increase, this adds noticeable
delays to connection setup and maintenance, and data transfer.
The Instart Logic Global Network Accelerator moves this connection setup process, placing it as close
as possible to the end user, to allow for instant connections. It then speeds the data transfer over a web
of existing high-bandwidth delivery channels that are pre-established across the service and already
connected into backend web servers. The following two diagrams illustrate this difference. The back
and forth iterations still take place, but over a much shorter distance.
US-based Server to UK
iPad: Connection setup
without Instart Logic
Localization of network
connection setup with
Instart Logic Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 9
The Right Approach for the Right Segment of the Connection
The Global Network Accelerator applies a different approach to each of the three major portions of the
path between the backend web server and the end users device. These three segments of the commu-
nication path are:
The wired First Mile between the backend web servers that generate dynamic web application
code, and the Instart Logic network location closest to it.
The large Middle Mile across the global Internet between the Instart Logic location near the
backend web server and the Instart Logic node nearest the end users device.
Finally, the wireless Last Mile between the Instart Logic servers nearest the end users deivce and
the fnal 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi networks that connect the end user device to the Internet.
The Wired First Mile
Instart Logic places its globally-distributed serving locations next to the major peering points of the
Internet, and connects to these peering points with multiple tier 1 transit providers. As a result, the
networking conditions that exist on the wired First Mile between our servers and the backend web
servers are fast, effcient, and reliable.
The Instart Logic system optimizes the First Mile connection between the backend web servers by
maintaining persistent high-velocity connections. This is accomplished by a combination of aggressive
TCP and HTTPS protocol-level optimizations and the use of keepalives to maintain the connections
and remove the setup penalty. This ensures our service can effciently source dynamic elements of your
website or application without any overhead for connection setup and ramping.
Instart Logics end-to-end solution for SaaS that addresses all segments of the pathway Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 10
An Ingenious New Approach to the Middle Mile With the Inter-Proxy Transfer
Protocol (IPTP)
Traditional web delivery systems play simple tricks with TCP and HTTPS over the Middle Mile of the
Internet. Once dynamic assets enter the Instart Logic network, they are carried across the Middle Mile
on a new purpose-built binary protocol IPTP (Inter-Proxy Transport Protocol) designed specifcally
for the inter-proxy communication on globally-distributed delivery systems such as the Web Application
Streaming Network.
The IPTP protocol was invented by Instart Logic researchers and engineers to overcome the ineff-
ciencies of TCP and HTTPS over global distances. It does this by setting up a persistent matrix of
ramped-up connections between Instart Logic serving locations, then effciently framing and multi-
plexing dynamic transfers through this matrix. IPTP is implemented using Googles extremely effcient
protobuf technology. Google, which uses protobuf extensively for implementing its own internal commu-
nication protocols, has open-sourced the technology for others to use.
Not only is the IPTP built for maximum effciency and low overhead, it also allows for future expandabili-
ty. It is designed to allow for accelerating emerging protocols such as SPDY, WebSockets, and WebRTC
in the future across the Middle Mile of the Instart Logic web application streaming service.
Last Mile Network Optimization Built for the Wireless World
The Last Mile in the delivery path has changed dramatically from the era when protocols like TCP and
HTTPS were frst created. The rapid transition over the last few years from wired connections to wireless
over public and private Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G technologies has brought high latency, heavy congestion,
and variable bandwidth conditions. To overcome these wireless network challenges, Instart Logic has
optimally tuned its Last Mile TCP and HTTPS networking stacks to break through these bottlenecks
and quickly recover from the momentary packet loss and heavy congestion that mark these wireless
networks. While traditional approaches designed for wired Last Miles allow connections to back off
signifcantly, to allow for the longer periods of congestion that exist on wired networks, our system is
aggressive about recovering the effciency of the connection, as wireless networks often have short
periods of congestion. The diagrams below show the difference in the two approaches.
Traditional connection
ramp and backoff due
to packet loss
Instart Logics optimal
connection start plus
fast recovery from
packet loss Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 11
Built for Application-intelligent Streaming
On its own, Global Network Accelerator provides greatly improved performance, but its true power lies in
the fact that it is integrated from the start into the rest of the Web Application Streaming Network. When
paired with powerful application-intelligent web application streaming technologies like Dynamic HTML
Streaming and True Fidelity Image Streaming, it takes your performance on delivery of dynamic content to
new levels and allows you to provide productive, frustration-free work sessions for end users.
Dynamic HTML Streaming
Instart Logics Web Application Streaming service analyzes the makeup of dynamic HTML pages. It auto-
matically identifes sections of HTML that are the same (non-unique HTML) across different users accessing
the same web application, and sends those sections in advance of the dynamic HTML being generated on
the backend web servers.
With Dynamic HTML Streaming, the Web Application Streaming service can immediately start sending the
non-personalized (non-unique) portions of the website or web application to the browser from a server
close to the end user. This allows the browser to make use of previously wasted time. The result is dra-
matically decreased overall load times and a more productive work experience for the end user. Once the
personalized (unique) portions of the HTML are delivered, the browser can allow the user to start experi-
encing the web application. This interaction comes radically faster than traditional delivery approaches that
are forced to wait to start downloading the full HTML load from the backend web server until it has been
How the System Distinguishes Unique from Non-unique Dynamic HTML
As dynamic HTML fows through the Instart Logic service from the backend web servers, a component
called the Instart Logic AppSequencer automatically analyzes the HTML for the same page or applica-
tion as it fows to multiple end users. The AppSequencer is able to learn which portions of the HTML are
non-unique across all users e.g., the top portion of the HTML in the HEAD section that contains metadata,
scripts, and style sheet information. Once it learns the pattern for that page, the non-unique portions of the
HTML are stored in the distributed Instart Logic serving network.
When the dynamic HTML is requested in the future, the service will immediately send the non-unique HTML
to the requesting browser while simultaneously sending a request to the backend web servers to generate
the user-specifc dynamic HTML. By sending the non-unique HTML to the browser immediately, it unblocks
downloading of required assets and even parsing scripts and style information required to render the page.
Once the dynamic HTML is generated and received by the service, it forwards this along to the requesting
browser so it can fnish rendering the page for the end user much sooner than traditional services which-
cannot store any of the dynamic HTML.
A very attractive feature of Instart Logics Dynamic HTML Streaming solution is that it requires no changes
to the backend web servers, nor to the code that makes up the web site or application. As the HTML fows
through the Web Application Streaming Network, the service automatically learns which portions of the
HTML are non-unique across users, and it continues to relearn as the web site or application is updated
over time. Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 12
True Fidelity Image
The Instart Logic service also
automatically optimizes the
image components of web ap-
plications. It transcodes images,
applying the most current lossless
compression techniques, and
then divides them into multiple
smaller fragments based on the
underlying format support (such
as progressive display for JPEG
images or interlacing for PNG
images). This allows the system
to send the frst portion of image
data to allow quick initial display
of the web application. The
service then sends the remainder
of the image quality information
in the background soon after the
initial page display, providing a
full-fdelity experience. It allows
users to interact with the entire
web application both sooner and
faster, and allows web publishers
load higher-quality images
without diminishing performance.
A History of Streaming on the Internet
In the early days of the Internet, users who wanted to view a
video online would need to download the entire fle before it
would start to play. This was a laborious process. Streaming
video sped up this process by eliminating the need to
download the entire video fle before it could be watched.
With the advent of streaming video, users could almost im-
mediately start watching a video after only a partial download
of data, while the remainder continued to download in the
As with video downloads, previously users of Windows
applications needed to download the entire application up
front before it could be installed and used. Then Windows
Application Streaming came along. Like video streaming, it
eliminated the need to send all the data up front before an
application became useable. Windows Application Streaming
works by sending the most important application data
frst and allowing users to start using Windows apps after
downloading only a small portion of the data, while the rest
continues to download in the background. Just as with the
streaming video approach, the user gets a faster experience,
while still getting the full capabilities of the application.
Instart Logics technology takes the lessons learned from
streaming video and streaming desktop Windows applications
and applies them to web applications with the worlds frst
Web Application Streaming Network. This approach allows
users to interact with a web application before the entire
download has completed.
Need more information?
DOWNLOAD RESOURCES Copyright 2013 Instart Logic, Inc. All rights reserved. 13
To give SaaS providers a major performance differentiator, Instart Logic has taken a fresh approach to every
segment of the delivery path, from the originating server to the browser, unfettered by attachment to any
existing or legacy approach. By using a combination of new approaches at the network layer and applica-
tion intelligence it allows SaaS providers to provide native-like application performance for their users.
The resulting technology, Web Application Streaming from Instart Logic, is easy and frictionless to test
and to adopt. The benefts to an increasingly mobile-connected user population are obvious, quantifable,
and important to the bottom line. Instart Logic addresses much more than the pathway of Web delivery,
however we adapt to the application itself, and to what users and their browsers do with it.
It is a comprehensive collection of performance inventions that work together and provide the frst
end-to-end performance boost over both wired and wireless connections designed for web-based SaaS
applications. We are the only solution that addresses such a wide range of performance issues: network
congestion, network unpredictability, wireless network issues, the application itself, plus the need for larger
images, more dynamic HTML, and amazing end user expectations.
When SaaS performance is critical, using Instart Logics Web Application Streaming Network is an attractive
new option that goes far beyond traditional network-only approaches to deliver new levels of end user
Need more information? Ready to get started?