How Webscale's Application Delivery Platform Supports Rapid Deployment

Posted 5/1/2016 12:07:32 PM by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

How Webscale
We recently visited with Andrew Humber, Head of Marketing at Webscale, to learn about recent updates to the company’s application delivery platform.
ADM: Describe Webscale’s technology.

Humber: Webscale gives e-commerce and enterprise customers complete control over their web applications, delivering infinite scalability, high performance, security and monitoring in a single platform. Webscale’s patented technology looks ahead of demand, taking the necessary actions to ensure websites stay fast and available, even during periods of high demand.

ADM: What’s the industry problem does Webscale’s technology solve when it comes to managing apps in the cloud? 
Humber: The migration of applications from development to operations – the core of the DevOps model – is a migration that has hit barrier after barrier, each of those representing delays in bringing an application to market.  At the crux of the problem is the circular process of “develop, iterate, test in a production-like environment, create successively better iterations, and re-test” until the app is certified to be production-ready.  

Much of the problem is scaling: can the app scale with demand from users on the network?  Scaling is a challenge left not just to applications, but also (historically) to a traditional Application Delivery Controller (ADC) – essentially the traffic director for user inquiries, such as those encountered by retailers during peak periods. 

However, slow or nonfunctioning checkouts, or, worse, entirely non-responsive sites, cause user experience friction that can result in shopping cart abandonment. For example, according to a past Kissmetrics study, 47 percent of consumers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less, and after three seconds, 40 percent of people will abandon that webpage. For an e-commerce business making $100,000 per day, a mere one second delay could result in $2.5 million in lost sales every year. 

To ensure high scalability to meet such demands, an Ops team faces the acid test of having to deploy multiple ADCs and multiple e-commerce application servers rapidly, in response to actual demand.  But that is a complex, slow and extremely costly proposition – and what has hampered the “go live” of apps to production for years.  

Webscale helps solve this problem offering a cloud-based software ADC, delivered as a service, and capable of scaling out application infrastructure in minutes. This rapid deployment model allows Ops teams to test for the massive scalability they can expect the app to endure during peak demand.  

ADM: I thought that the whole idea of the cloud was that it scales easily, why do companies need Webscale then?

Humber: Running an application or server instance in the cloud isn’t enough to ensure elasticity and scalability. Cloud providers can’t predict demand, and therefore scale out reactively, which can be too slow or too late, thereby degrading performance, frustrating customers and impacting customer revenue. 

Predictive scaling solves these issues by getting ahead of the load and right-sizing the architecture to meet the current and short-term forecasted demand. It does this in real time, and without any manual intervention. In addition, Webscale supports multi-cloud, meaning its service can be deployed across all cloud providers, as well as across hybrid clouds that may use a combination of on-premise hardware assets and the public cloud. 
Andrew Humber

Webscale customer, Fresh Produce, experiences traffic that is prone to spikes, especially around special offers and seasonal promotions. Having an infrastructure that automatically scales to manage these surges means they no longer have to guess how successful a marketing event in the cloud will be. They have indicated that with Webscale, they’re now spending 32% less on their cloud infrastructure.

ADM: What about for mobile applications and website access via mobile browsing? Does Webscale give any particular help with that back end infrastructure?

Humber: 70% of shoppers prefer using a mobile e-commerce site versus a mobile app, and a staggering 78% of shoppers will research better prices online before making an in-store purchase. If a site is not optimized for mobile, then they could be missing out on sales.

By reducing overall page size and the number of server requests, Webscale maximizes a website’s performance for all workloads, but specifically mobile where optimizations are performed to ensure a fast, consistent user experience. 

ADM: What other capabilities does Webscale have that developers would be interested in for their apps? 

Humber: Developer teams can fully configure their service from the Webscale RESTful API, which also allows full third party control, simplifying management of large complex configurations, and providing unprecedented insight into your overall system. Webscale also takes over the content optimization challenge by modifying content before delivery. 

This can include caching, minifying JavaScript, resizing images, or rewriting asset locations to pull from a CDN. Finally, Webscale is viewed by its customers as a true extension of their IT team – offering round the clock, proactive support from a team of seasoned experts in cloud and e-commerce deployments.

ADM: How does Webscale address security?

Humber: Webscale’s web application firewall provides comprehensive functionality with support for extensive security policies, including encryption support, distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack Mitigation, and PCI-DSS 3.1 compatibility. The Webscale ADCs also provide SSL Termination, enabling them to offload all SSL encryption and handshaking from the application servers. Webscale is also a Level 1 certified PCI-DSS 3.1 service provider.

ADM: How can Webscale help smaller developer teams that don’t have the funds, staff or the time to convince their company to invest in a highly technical solution?

Humber: Webscale makes this simple for businesses of all sizes. Typically, customers build their application, purchase a cloud account and hand over management credentials to Webscale. Webscale’s team of experts handle the migration of the application to the cloud, and once complete, provide access information to the customer for the management portal, where they can view the status of their web application infrastructure from a single screen.

Due to the unique features that Webscale offers, the site will essentially self-govern, scale out, self-heal, achieve high performance, and be more secure, with no manual intervention. In addition, the Webscale support team manages the deployment, and proactively reaches out if an issue is identified that they cannot resolve, like a code change that needs to be made directly to the site for example.

ADM: Are companies going to be limited to a specific cloud provider when they use Webscale? Can developers keep using their current cloud provider?

Humber: Webscale is 100% cloud-agnostic, and we’re integrated with all the leading cloud providers and CDNs. This includes Google Cloud Platform and Google CDN, AWS and Amazon Cloudfront, OpenStack Cloud Software, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft CDN, and others. 

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About the author: RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

As the Publisher and Editor for App Developer Magazine, Richard has several industry recognitions and endorsements from tech companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google for accomplishments in the mobile market. He was part of the early Google AFMA program, and also involved in the foundation of Google TV. He has been developing for mobile since 2003 and serves as CEO of Moonbeam Development, a mobile app company with 200 published titles in various markets throughout the world. Richard is also the founder of LunarAds, a mobile cross-promotion and self-serv mediation network for developers. He has been a featured presenter at trade-shows and conferences, and stays active with new projects relating to mobile development.

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