When in Phoenix, optimize Cloud Sites!
There were rain puddles in Sky Harbor’s parking lot and clouds were floating over the Papagos! This is very good for us because more folks will be staying home, traveling on the Internet.
With everyone traveling on the Internet, we need to provide an optimal user experience where pages load as quickly as possible. As you might have guessed, it just happens that I was in Phoenix (or more precisely Tempe, Arizona) to work with one of our key partners: Limelight Networks. These guys have built a world class Content Delivery Network which allows bringing content such as static images as close as possible to the eyeball of the viewer. This is a great enabler for any web site as it allows web pages to simply load faster.
I spent yesterday morning with the Limelight team talking about the acceleration of web pages and tools that our customers should use to better their viewer experience. From a high level point of view, there are two key approaches:
1) Bring content closer to the viewer. For static content, the easiest solution is to publish to a CDN instead of the web server. With Cloud Sites, this basically means uploading images to Cloud Files, and then enabling CDN on top of the storage container. As an example, my personal web site (http://percula.net ) is on Cloud Sites, with all images accessible via CDN. The only visible change is that their URL points to a different location (e.g., for the image accessed from )
2) Pre generate content to have faster response times. The easiest solution is to cache the result of complex queries so that a page being hit is just fetched from memory rather than fetched via few back-end database queries.
Now, how to make this happen without too much pain?
For my blog (and for this blog), I use WordPress and am therefore very lucky as I just had to install and activate 2 plugins: CDNTools to publish to CDN via Cloud Files, and WP Super Cache which stated purpose is “To make WordPress faster”.
If I look at Drupal, there are primitives of work on the CDN front (with ) and also what looks like a few options on the caching front (http://drupalmodules.com/search/node/caching). I will then work with some of our guys who are more familiar with Drupal and will then indicate what seems to work well with Cloud Sites.
In the meantime, let me know which plug-ins you think can really help accelerate a web site.
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