Public cloud providers and CDNs may promise to provide modern applications with the highest performance, but there’s more to such claims than meets the eye. Different application types have different requirements and data characteristics. Increasingly, applications are bidirectional and dynamic — exactly where public providers and CDNs struggle. Subspace, because it’s designed differently, is far better suited to these more demanding and emerging applications. Decide for yourself by trying Subspace for free now
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Whether aimed at consumers, administrators, or internal support teams, the vast majority of online applications live or die on the strength and ease of their user experience. Interface plays a critical role in the UX, but underlying network performance can be even more important. After all, users may tolerate an ugly layout, but slow responsiveness and lost connections can destroy willingness to use a platform.
There are several solutions available for increasing internet application responsiveness. Cloud deployment and Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) are two of the most popular. Subspace’s Network as a Service (NaaS)
is the latest solution vying for your attention. It can be confusing trying to figure out which is best. The reality is each solution has its place, depending on the use case, and the best solution may be a combination.
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How Do Cloud, CDNs, and Subspace Compare?
To evaluate these solutions, the critical question is: How responsive does the application need to be? For e-commerce applications, the answer depends on how patient a customer is when waiting for a web page to load or when waiting to receive a purchase confirmation. For voice and video applications, we have all felt the frustration of distorted voices or sound that cuts out. We have also seen frozen or pixelated videos. These problems are all related to how long it takes for data to cross the internet.
- Real Time: Real-time applications need to respond to action faster than the user can perceive. It needs to feel no different than when users and the machine are physically in the same place. Phone, video conferencing, gaming, telepresence, and trading are applications where real time is critical. In these use cases, even a few milliseconds can be noticeable and, in some cases, make the application unusable.
- Near Real Time: When the response needs to seem quick to the user, but it doesn’t need to be instant, the application is near real-time. One telltale sign of a near real-time application is the spinner that displays while the user waits for a response. Most e-commerce sites or anything that requires the user to fill out a form can fall into this category. Even these applications need to be responsive, because there are limits to a user’s patience.
Each of the three solutions (cloud deployment, CDNs, and Subspace NaaS) has definite strengths in a given use case. Each can mitigate the inherent limitations of the public internet. The internet was built to deliver files across a mesh network. There is little attention focused on sending data on the most efficient route when routing data. Routes are frequently longer than necessary, and data often encounters bottlenecks that further slow the data.
The primary purpose of deploying an application to the cloud is usually to relieve the organization of the cost of maintaining an on-site data center. However, deploying an application to the cloud can significantly increase performance. With the increase in popularity of microservices and distributed data, a complex solution may be made up of hundreds of small applications and data sources, each providing a small part of the total solution.
Most large cloud providers, such as AWS and Azure, optimize the internal network for interactions between these microservices. Cloud providers may even provide dedicated fiber connections for communications between their data centers in different parts of the world. Reducing the communication lag between components in a unified solution can significantly reduce the overall response time.
The further data must travel, the longer it takes to get there, even on a highly efficient, proprietary network. Unfortunately, the public internet is not highly efficient, and introduces additional lag due to inefficient routing and traffic blockages.
CDNs are intended to preposition, or cache, large, frequently used files, such as images and videos, close to the user. Large CDNs, like Cloudflare, have hundreds of Points of Presence (PoPs) spread across the world. When a user requests a web page or other resource from a web server, the files are delivered from the nearest CDN PoP rather than the host server. For large resources that seldom change, this can drastically reduce the delivery time of the web page — in some cases, from minutes to seconds.
Subspace is a network built from the ground up to connect real-time applications to users worldwide, without the inherent limitations built into the public internet. Subspace uses proprietary, AI-driven weathermapping of the internet to ensure data always travels on the fastest route, bypassing any bottlenecks. When on Subspace, your application can experience 90% less lag and 99% less jitter and packet loss compared to the public internet.
Putting It All Together
Few online applications meet customer expectations when running on the public internet with no acceleration applied. All but the simplest web pages take a long time to load. An interactive site with a simple form can take a long time to confirm after the user clicks the submit button.
Deploying images, videos, and scripts to a CDN may be enough in these simple use cases. But, CDNs deliver static files in one direction. They generally don’t meet two-way communication needs such as video conferencing, phone calls, or gaming.
Cloud platforms can increase the internal performance of a complex solution, but the platforms still need to deliver the result to the user across the internet. If the internet is the bottleneck, then internal optimization may not help.
Subspace is the only solution that resolves the inherent limitations of the internet rather than trying to mitigate them. In most cases, this will be enough. When you need to squeeze every millisecond of lag out of your solution, an optimum solution is to deploy your microservices to the cloud, your static images to a CDN, and route all the traffic to users on Subspace.
If you have a real-time application, Subspace should always be part of your solution.