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February 2012 Archives

Best practices for securing the DNS infrastructure

Like any critical part of network infrastructure, securing recursive DNS requires a layered approach. All the points of entry into the system - the console(s), network, etc need to be protected.

You know, I love times like this.  It's one of those rare times....When I'm finally right about something. Trust me, my wife will insist that I'm right about things very rarely. At Akamai I concentrate on extending the Enterprise infrastructure out onto the Internet and into the public cloud. It's from this perspective that I clearly see the strong catalyst for Enterprise IT change - and what convinces me I'm right about what I believe is the next consolidation cycle in the space.
Being right about something means being able to dive into the details, but also being able to "bounce out" and validate the details from a broad vantage point. When I bounce back and look at the technology market today I see some significant and clear trends. I see a real and present collision between consumer and enterprise IT functionality and productivity. And it's in the software as a service space. It's here that innovative delivery technologies combined with present day functionality (like social, mobile, video, etc) are manifesting instantly and crossing the enterprise boarders quicker then anyone imagined it could happen.  These are the bright spots of technology. Those spots where you know you've hit a ground shift of real change. Something that's going to build to the new way of doing business.  So, it's clear to me, in 2012 SaaS is that ground shift.  With no notice..... "Cloud" went from a marketing term to a specific something enterprises spend 10% today and 25% tomorrow on investing in to deliver productivity to end-users.  The CLOUD IS FULL OF SAAS.  Look at any analyst report.... The major spend, quoted by some as over 90% of the actual revenue spend in "the cloud", is SaaS spend.
It's easy to consume.  The HR director can buy it.  The research assistant can buy it.  The entire enterprise can buy it.  Or just your most advanced, highest end users can buy it.  It's consumable.  It's abstracted.  It's easy to adopt. Any device can access it.  You don't need to buy any hardware, train anyone, build anything, secure anything..... It's just instant on-demand application consumption. You give a credit card over the phone and minutes later your users are accessing the app and being productive.  Amazing right?
Sure is.  But, so was "consolidate all your servers to a centralized datacenter with no impacts" 10 years ago.  And IT teams globally are still shaken and hungover from that decade long bender.
We're smarter than that now. 

eTail 2012: Challenges of the Hyperconnected Shopper

As I fly into Palm Springs for my fourth trip to eTail West, I am growing more excited about the week ahead. I'm thrilled to be meeting up with the best of the Akamai team's Internet and industry experts - from Marilee Rhodes in California to Laurie Findeisen in New York - and the agenda is packed with great speakers and content. We're also launching two new products: Mobile Accelerator 1.0 and Kona Site Defender. Please come by the booth (#32-33) to say hello to us all, and learn more about these brand new products, as well as our Advertising and Site solutions.

I am especially excited to see Tom Leighton, Akamai's Founder and Chief Scientist, give his debut eTail keynote presentation tomorrow morning. Tom is one of the world's authorities on the Internet and network applications and he'll be offering his perspective on the emergence of the hyperconnected shopper - from QR codes to in store maps and coupons - and the challenges of delivering these experiences over the Internet.

Mobile users expectations are higher than ever - more than half expect a mobile site to respond in less than 3 seconds - but response times are on average 3 times higher. Tom will share with us why mobile network architecture was not designed with the web in mind, and the tactics available both today and in the future to overcome these shortcomings.
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According to a published report from Reuters, Iranian residents once again faced a disruption of their Internet access on Monday.  Reuters noted:

The latest Internet blockade affected the most common form of secure connections, including all encrypted international websites outside of Iran that depend on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol, which display addresses beginning with "https."

Observations from Cloud Connect

I've just returned from the Cloud Performance Summit at the 2012 Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara. It was a jammed packed day with a room full of obsessive web performance junkies. In other words, exactly my type of crowd and I was fortunate to be invited to share my own perspectives. The inevitable migration of applications and data to the cloud introduces new web performance bottlenecks that are driving a maniacal focus to overcome latency issues and help businesses turn milliseconds into money. What was exciting this year was the overwhelming realization that IT networking is increasingly becoming software driven, fueled by cloud, with a de-emphasis of the underlying hardware.  Everybody understands that the virtual machines within public and private clouds are controlled and accessed through software.

What people are now increasingly understanding is optimizing cloud performance is simply an evolution of the software with a constantly-evolving set of techniques and the ability to execute the code wherever the cloud infrastructure might reside. The software techniques underlying DNS Services, Application Delivery Networks, WAN Optimization, WAN Virtualization, Application Delivery Controllers and Front End Optimization - to name a few - were discussed at-length by my counterparts and their suitability and ease of use for cloud built applications. The hardware is increasingly becoming a portable environment for the software, even within the IT networking space where the server hugger is destined to be an extinct species.

The migration to cloud and pervasive connectivity with mobile devices are clearly driving new requirements and rapid innovation toward performance optimization. It has never been a more exciting time to for those obsessed with web performance. The work we are doing to integrate Riverbed Steelhead software for SaaS acceleration over hybrid networks and the recent acquisition of Blaze to help optimize browser think time for mobile connected devices is further evidence of how software is redefining what the network can and should be.

Neil Cohen is the VP of Product Marketing for Akamai
Awards season is upon us. The music industry is a buzz with announcements related to performances and presenters at this year's 54th GRAMMY Awards Telecast on Sunday Feb 12. The folks behind the Grammy's pride themselves on bringing music fans the most interactive and engaging online awards experience possible. With behind-the-scene cameras and exclusive online-only interviews, the Grammy.com site and associated GRAMMY Live initiative will bring a fantastic multi-screen experience to music fanatics throughout the weekend.

Akamai is fortunate to be involved with this, the 3rd installment of GRAMMY Live, and we sat down this week with GRAMMY Live Executive Producer Peter Anton, who's consulting for The Recording Academy, to talk about the event.Peter Anton, TRA.jpg

Akamai: Peter, last year you saw great viewership numbers for GRAMMY Live, but there might be a few people out there that have not had a chance to visit. Can you give us a quick tour of the second screen experience on GRAMMY Live this year?

Peter Anton: This year we are partnering with CBS on GRAMMY Live and associated mobile apps to bring fans three days of live coverage of VIP events leading up to Music's Biggest Night®. The live stream is accompanied by exclusive pre-taped and archived GRAMMY moments, as well as a variety of live backstage cameras. The GRAMMY Live real-time, online broadcast, includes live video, photos, blogging, tweets and retweets, official news reports and personalized updates from our GRAMMY Live hosts. Exclusive GRAMMY cams bring users beyond the red-velvet-rope to capture behind-the-scenes footage of all the action leading up to and through the 54th GRAMMY Awards, culminating at the official GRAMMY Celebration after party. To round out the experience, this year we've included a feature rich GRAMMY Live mobile app, enabling fans to watch the live stream on their favorite iOS device.

We are proud again to work with technology and production partners, Akamai and AEG Digital Media. Akamai's HD Network and Akamai Media Analytics allow us deliver the live streams in multiple bit rates to various connected devices, as well as measure the online experience from a variety of aspects. AEG Digital Media brings their production and technical expertise, including a feature-rich multi-camera angle Tremolo Player and The MC, a new interactive polling application to the online experience.

Blazing Akamai

As you may have heard, Akamai acquired Blaze today.

This is obviously big news for Blaze, and we're thoroughly excited about it. Beyond that, we see this as a big moment for the field of Front-End Optimization (FEO), and for the goal of making the web faster. Having Akamai provide an automated FEO solution will make this technology easily available to thousands of the top websites in the world, and make a real impact on the web.
We see Akamai as a great home for both the Blaze team and technology, here are some of the reasons why.

The Evolving CDN
CDNs have been around for a while, and have evolved as the web evolved.

At first, CDNs were focused on caching static content across the globe. Whether it's big software downloads or page resources like scripts and images, temporary copies were created all around the globe. Since most websites were static, serving a file from a nearby Edge made web pages much faster.

Over time, websites transformed into highly dynamic beasts, and couldn't simply be cached. CDNs like Akamai and others rose to the challenge, and provided Dynamic Site Acceleration (DSA). New algorithms leverage thousands of synchronized servers for transferring data more efficiently, avoiding redundant downloads and more, thus accelerating dynamic content.

As the web evolved, technology adapted.

Best practices for running DNS caching servers

Your new DNS infrastructure is up and running! Here's what to watch for, how to monitor, and tips for patches and upgrades.