Seattle super geek Chris Pirillo has a loyal following who love his offbeat musings on technology. But sometimes Pirillo’s network of sites, including LockerGnome.com, get overloaded with traffic. Faced with that challenge, Pirillo and his team have developed a new service called CDN in a Box that’s designed to handle huge traffic spikes and accelerate page loads to “Google-like speeds.”
“A CDN can save you money and, more importantly, it can speed up your Web site,” explained Pirillo in a recent video introduction of the service. Since implementing CDN in a Box at LockerGnome, page load times are now about four to six times faster than before. The service — which costs $500 to install for large content companies and 50 cents per Gigabyte delivered — does not require content creators to switch their Web hosting providers.
“We don’t move your infrastructure, we just get between it and the Internet,” explains LockerGnome’s Brandon Wirtz who worked with Pirillo to develop the new service.
Built on the back of Google App Engine, the content delivery network (CDN) is being used to handle traffic spikes at the Web site of Survivor host Jeff Probst. Officially launched on May 10th, the service is designed for “serious bloggers only and serious content creators only,” said Pirillo.
Wirtz said most Web sites follow the “80/20 rule,” which means that 80 percent of traffic comes from 20 percent of pages.
On big days — say The Huffington Post, The New York Times link or Hacker News links to your site — Wirtz said one page can drive nearly all of the traffic.
“We take that load off of you, by caching content in the cloud,” Wirtz said. “We serve 90+ percent of your requests so your CMS doesn’t get overwhelmed.”
There are other cloud-based content delivery networks on the market, including MaxCDN and Amazon.com’s Web Services. Wirtz said that Amazon’s S3 operates as a traditional CDN, and its speeds are comparable to CDN in a Box.
“…Sometimes we are faster, sometimes they are faster, but we don’t require as much know how to set up, and if you are running a CMS you built, or a CMS we support, the integration can be minutes rather than hours or days,” Wirtz says.
The upstart makes a more direct attack on Amazon.com in its FAQ, noting that in case “you missed it they were down for nearly 3 days straight recently.” Ouch.
In terms of MaxCDN, Wirtz said it primarily caches images and videos in the cloud. And, based on his experience at LockerGnome, it just didn’t perform well.
“In our limited experience it took 60 percent of the load off of the image portion of our site, and the load it created in “optimizing” our pages to serve the JS and CSS elements made it a net loss,” Wirtz said.
Here’s Pirillo introducing CDN in a Box in his prototypical energetic and nerdy way: