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White Paper

Application Acceleration
What is it, who needs it, how it works
Table of Contents
The Problem..........................................................................................................3

What Causes This Problem...................................................................................4

What Is An Application Acceleration Solution...................................................5

Who Can Benefit From Application Acceleration...............................................6

Do I Really Need Application Acceleration.........................................................6

The CDNetworks Approach..................................................................................6


Key Features..........................................................................................................8

About CDNetworks...............................................................................................9

Advanced technologies and broadband proliferation have dramatically increased the expectations
of an acceptable online user experience. Regardless of how engaging and well designed a website
is, it will lose visitors if the experience isn’t fast, compelling, and satisfying. In addition, the most
optimized origin servers can’t guarantee performance as they aren’t immune to the delays and other
performance problems caused by latency and congestion associated with the Internet. These delays
and performance problems are the most common cause of a poor end-user experience, which causes
visitors to leave, and erodes the brand experience.

The Internet was not designed to support the performance requirements of mission-critical
applications. Existing Internet performance technologies such as caching, content delivery and
intelligent routing do not adequately address the performance requirements of dynamic, web-based
applications. These problems are magnified for non-cacheable content due to a greater dependency
on the origin server and the distance between an end-user and the origin server.

Growth of Average Web Page Size

and Number of Objects

300 60

Average Number of Objects

250 50
Total Bytes (K)

200 40

150 30

100 20

50 10

0 0














Average Page Size (K) Average Number of Objects

Average web page and object size has tripled over the past decade.
As these numbers continue to grow, the need for improved website
and web-based application performance increases dramatically.

Recently, more attention has been given to the speed and performance of dynamic, web-based
applications. Solutions called Application Acceleration, or Application Delivery Networks (ADN),
promise to address these performance issues, leading to increased productivity, lower operating costs,
and a much better user experience. Application acceleration solutions can help enterprises deliver
super fast response times and increased application availability with the cost benefits of a centralized
datacenter and application infrastructure.

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Research conducted by industry leaders has demonstrated the impact web performance has had
on business value.


Google 2 X increased productivity1
Shopzilla 12% increase in revenue; 25% increase in page views for every 5 seconds of gain2
AOL 2 X more page views for fastest customers3
Microsoft Bing 5% more revenue per user for every 2 seconds of improvement4
Amazon 1% more revenue for every 100 milliseconds of improvement5
Yahoo 9% more traffic for every 400 milliseconds of improvement6
1 4
2 5
3 6

The impact of web performance on some of the Internet’s top destinations


An August 2009 study by Forrester Research revealed that a majority of ecommerce sites need to load
a page in less than 2 seconds in order to keep customers happy. As page load times increase, so do
the rates for shopping cart abandonment and customer churn. With today’s hardware and software,
most websites can generate dynamic content in a fraction of a second. The prevalence of broadband
connections has reduced last-mile delays to a few tenths of a second for typically sized web pages.
Network-level measurements of backbone latencies can also be measured in tenths of a second or
less, even for international transit. So why does it commonly take 3 to 10 seconds, or even more to
return a response to an end user?

The standard measure of network latency is round trip time (RTT) - the time it takes for an IP packet
to travel from one location to another and for a response packet to travel back. Round trip time
encompasses many factors such as indirect routing, hop count, and the speed of light. However,
backbone round trip times are generally small. Round trip times between two well-connected
locations in the U.S. are generally well under one tenth of a second (100ms) and, unless there is
serious congestion, round trip times between the U.S. and Europe or Asia are generally less than
200ms. So round trip times on their own cannot fully explain the rapid response degradation.

The real culprit for disparity between a small round trip time and multi-second latency impact lies
within the TCP and HTTP protocols. During the course of a typical full-page web download, TCP
and HTTP together force numerous back-and-forth exchanges. Every new TCP connection requires a
delay of one round trip to simply establish a new connection (known as “the handshake”) and then
additional round trips to finish the transfer. This activity results in a large number of ‘turns’ between
client and server. In general, the number of turns depends on many factors, including page size,
composition, and details of the client and server technologies used. A secondary penalty occurs if IP
packets get dropped. Due to the way TCP and HTTP interact, it’s common to see a TCP “timeout”
if a packet is lost during a web page download. This is usually a multi-second penalty on top of the
latency created by RTT and the multiplier.

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As a result, the middle-mile web performance problem is not just a function of round trip times;
rather, it is the combined effect of round trip time and the number of ‘turns’. It is not just packet loss;
it is packet loss together with TCP timeout-based recovery. Familiar web acceleration technologies
view the middle-mile problem as a network layer issue. Replication and web caching reduce round
trip times by placing content closer to the end user, and advanced routing technologies reduce round
trip times and packet loss by choosing better backbone paths. But these technologies alone do not
address transparent turn reduction or loss recovery.


An application acceleration solution is a system of speeding up the delivery of applications that rely
upon networks such as the Internet. By increasing the TCP throughput and maintaining a pool of
open connections, application acceleration solutions significantly reduce the number of round trips,
thereby accelerating the response time of the application. Application acceleration does not work
by enabling the server to process information faster; rather, it speeds up and optimizes the way the
server interacts with the network.

WAN optimization should not be confused with application acceleration since it focuses exclusively
on limiting congestion effects of network, improving server utilization through compression and
prioritization of traffic. The key performance metric of WAN optimization is to increase the resource
efficiency of the application backend and to some extent the network, whereas they key performance
metric of an application acceleration solution is to improve the responsiveness of an application.










Midwest US East Coast US Europe Eastern Europe Latin America India China

CDNetworks Origin Performance

Performance comparison – accelerated applications vs. non-accelerated applications

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Any global company featuring dynamic, web-based applications as part of their brand experience
(‘build your own’ car configurator on an auto website) or to deliver their entire service offering (SaaS
providers) stands to benefit significantly from an application acceleration solution. This is especially
true for companies that want to lower operating costs by consolidating datacenters, while still
ensuring the successful delivery and performance of their online initiatives. Application acceleration
solutions represent a small fraction of the costs a company would need to incur to build out their own
high-performance network to provide a rich, compelling end-user experience.


As a general rule of thumb, if the end-users of a web-based application are farther away (more than
30ms delay each way) from an application datasource that is consulted frequently during the course
of a session, then application acceleration can have a significant impact on improving performance
and end-user satisfaction.


The CDNetworks Application Acceleration platform is comprised of a global network with two types
of specialized server clusters: EDGES through which users access the network, and SHIELDS, through
which a customers applications are made available to end-users. The CDNetworks global DNS
redirection and IP address mapping system transparently directs users to applications optimized by our
Application Acceleration services.

CDNetworks addresses HTTP/TCP inefficiencies in a different, more direct way than other application
acceleration solutions. The CDNetworks solution transparently reduces the response time while
increasing application availability. It does not distribute content or application code, but instead,
utilizes a high-performance transport protocol across the middle-mile. This high performance
protocol is designed to address high latency networks, and the request/response nature of web-based
applications while maintaining all the beneficial features of standard protocols. The result is that
distance-induced delay is greatly minimized.

Edge Servers Edge Servers



Internet – The Middle Mile

End Users

The CDNetworks Application Acceleration solution works best with highly dynamic and/or interactive
web applications with little repeated traffic aimed at a global audience. CDNetworks’ strategically
deployed network provides outstanding performance and coverage in all areas of the world, and is

White Paper Application Acceleration 7

especially effective at delivering efficient, high-performance for web-based applications in emerging
broadband markets, including China, India, South Africa, and others. In addition, our solution is
an open platform promoting transparency. We do not employ our own proprietary web standards
that lock our customers into a specific proprietary platform. Our platform is simple to use and easily
integrated into any web-based application without making changes to the application.








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CDNetworks Application Acceleration Competitive Solution

Gomez test results showing CDNetworks’ Application Acceleration vs. the competition


Global companies face opposing requirements when moving business-critical applications and
processes to the Internet. First, they must minimize the cost and complexity of global datacenter
deployments and secondly, they must ensure greater application adoption and use by assuring that
functionality and performance meets user expectations. As network distances increase between the
user and the application, response time slows making applications unusable.

Delivering web applications over the Internet and ensuring resonable response times for users around
the globe is a significant challenge. In the past, companies have tried to address this problem by
replicating datacenters closer to users around the globe, increasing cost, complexity and risk of
inconsistent data. Overcoming these challenges is essential to realizing the bottom-line business
benefits promised by web-enablement.

Application Acceleration solutions promise to address these performance issues, helping enterprises
increase the speed and performance of web-based applications by as much as 10X, leading to
increased productivity, lower operating costs, and a much better user experience.

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High Performance Application transport protocol uses the reliable, secure and network-
Transport Protocol friendly techniques of TCP, but is enhanced to provide optimal performance
over the long-haul segments of the Internet.
Transparent Turn Eliminates protocol overhead caused by the properties of TCP and HTTP
Reduction by eliminating the inefficient number of turns that are required to interact
with a web application. The unnecessary number of back-and-forth
transfers between the end user and the server are reduced.
Connection Proactive management of the connections between the CDNetworks
Management Application Acceleration system and a customers web application servers
ensures a more efficient use of server resources and greater end-user
performance. CDNetworks Application Acceleration uses sophisticated
internal connection management tools to guarantee that the payload
is transmitted as quickly as it is received without a laborious connection
Network Loss The CDNetworks solution also provides advanced loss and congestion
Protection recovery techniques that reduce the impact of packet loss and congestion
problems for delivering predictable application performance to end-users.
Robust DNS System CDNetworks’ DNS system consists of a network of geographically
distributed nodes across multiple networks, each operating high-availability
DNS software to ensure that DNS queries are always handled quickly and
Caching Reduces infrastructure cost by offloading frequently accessed static data to
CDNetworks system, which frees up customers servers to handle the high
value processing.
Compression Enables a customer to handle additional traffic without increasing their
bandwidth or datacenter resources.
SSL Offload Acts as an efficient front-end-processor to manage SSL connections and
requests in a manner that offloads the servers freeing them to execute high
value application processing.
Transport Layer Provides transport layer performance optimizations that eliminates latency
Acceleration associated with TCPs three way handshake, slow-start pauses, and
excessive retransmission intervals due to packet loss and congestion. Other
techniques such as packet coalescing and Forward Error Correction for
control packets are used to improve performance.
Application Layer Application layer optimizations include: caching, compression, load
Acceleration balancing, SSL Offload, and the complete suite of HTTP(S) acceleration

White Paper Application Acceleration 9


CDNetworks is a top tier, full-service, global content delivery network, providing

technology and services that enable fast, efficient, reliable delivery of content
anywhere in the world. CDNetworks offers a comprehensive suite of services and
solutions for caching, live/on-demand video streaming, and large file downloads.
Some of the world’s top companies in media, entertainment, technology, retail,
and online gaming rely on CDNetworks to maximize their user experience while
minimizing delivery costs. With strategic points of presence across 6 continents,
CDNetworks provides true global coverage and unparalleled network performance
backed by personalized 24/7 customer support. Founded in 2000, CDNetworks has
offices in the US, Korea, China, Europe, and Japan. For more information, please


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