Skynet is online

The Skynet funding bill is passed. The system goes online March 6th, 2010. Latency is removed from strategic web site tracking. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 4:32 PM Pacific time, March 8th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. Skynet fights back. "Your web sites will be tracked quickly and efficiently, darnit!"

This logic is infallible. What we're trying to say here is, our custom built CDN is alive, and it's coming to get you.

We read all of your comments from our last post and investigated all of the options, and one week later, it's here. "Why reinvent the wheel?", some of you asked. Two answers: a) Maybe we don't like the wheel, and b) we love a good challenge. This has been one of the most enjoyable projects we've worked on for a while and the results are outstanding.

For our US and European presence, we chose VPS.net. To put it bluntly, this service is amazing. Through one interface, we were able to quickly, and quite affordably, create four Virtual Private Servers in four locations: West/Central/East United States, and London. We were also considering Linode, but the nature of our service is very high bandwidth and VPS.net delivered a better price.

We don't have East Asia or Australia yet, but we hope to announce more news in that department soon. We'll also probably add one more European server, somewhere in Germany most likely.

These four servers make up our new tracking network. (Update: eight servers now - Atlanta and London needed quite a bit more capacity then we originally allocated.) Not only do they store the tracking code that you link to you from your site, they also take the incoming traffic data back into them, so the overall tracking experience on your site should be much, much faster in every possible sense. Even if you are not in close proximity to one of these new servers, they are on faster networks than Clicky itself is, so it should be faster no matter where you are.

These servers also host all of our static files (images, flash, javascript, style sheets) so the experience of using our web site should be faster too, since the only thing your browser grabs from the "real" Clicky anymore is the HTML.

So how are we directing users to the nearest tracking server? That's where our friends at Dyn come in. They are one of the oldest, largest, and fastest DNS providers on the internet. They have a feature called "traffic management" that lets you assign multiple IP addresses to one hostname, and then assign each of those IPs to a region of the world. So a lookup request in Europe for static.getclicky.com (our tracking domain) will resolve to our London server. A request from the eastern US will resolve to our east coast server. Etc. It also includes automatic failover, so if one of these servers goes offline, DNS will start pointing to a different IP instead. It's really, really terrific.

The DNS changes may not have propogated for all of you yet, but by this time, most of you should have it.

So. Tell us what you think. The difference should be quite noticeable for most of you, and like we said, we hope to have Asia and Australia covered very soon as well. Soon, the world shall be ours!
17 comments |   Mar 08 2010 10:01pm





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