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Cedexis’ Openmix and Radar Measure the Cloud, Using the Cloud

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Cedexis' Openmix, which is billed as a global cloud-based load-balancer tool, has seen significant adoption success since we last covered the company in early 2013, a mere month after they launched the product in U.S. markets.

“Amazon has, in Route 53, what we’d consider the closer competitor,” said Rob Malnati, vice president of marketing for Cedexis. “Yet they’ve upgraded the Cedexis Openmix service to an Advanced Technology Partner status. In addition to Amazon Web Services, we’ve also been awarded Rackspace ‘Premiere Partner” status and have been selected by Deutsch Telekom as key technology partner."

In addition to Openmix, Cedexis also offers Radar, a community-driven monitoring of content delivery networks and around 400 private networks, in which visitors to particular websites download a JavaScript marker somewhat akin to the traditional pixel-point download used to measure non-video online advertising. The marker is around 1 packet in size, and is used to test latency from the origin server to the end user.

In addition, to test throughput, Malnati says the company sends through a slightly larger size file, around 10 kilobytes, to test throughput. While this is less than 100 times smaller than even an online JPEG, Malnati says the system extrapolates throughput from the small file.

“The number of measurements we’ve been able to consistently perform over the past year has grown over 100%,” said Malnati. “We now benchmark over 100 cloud and CDN platforms, and over 1,000 private platforms.”

The end result is a staggering number of performance measurements every day, and the data is available free of charge on a  per-day basis to participants in the Radar community.

“We perform over 3 billion end-user performance measurements daily,” said Malnati, “and have see a 300% growth of unique end-user sessions measured daily, to over 350 million each day.”

As a result of this big-data measurement pool, Juniper—a big-iron router company that competes with Cisco and Huawei—has chosen Cedexis to be part of its SDN initiative. SDN, or software-defined networking, is a trend in data centers worldwide where the traffic patterns are shaped with software to take best advantage of excess or dormant processing or routing capabilities.

At first glance, all this measuring of non-video content latency and throughput might seem to have little bearing to streaming media delivery, yet Malnati says that the move towards HTTP-based streaming delivery makes Cedexis’ measurements even more critical.

“Openmix takes the data provided by Radar—on a minute-to-minute basis—and turns it into actionable items,” said Malnati. “In the case of video, we would be measuring throughput on a variety of CDNs, so that our customers can decide the best balance between consistent throughput and delivery pricing.”

Cedexis has added a number of CDN back-office integrations, including MaxCDN, Fastly, Limelight, and Tata’s BitGravity.

In the case of video delivery, Malnati says that Openmix doesn’t support the ability to switch mid-stream between CDNs, but he cautions against that approach.

“We don’t use Openmix to do mid-stream switching,” said Malnati, “and our customers actually don’t request that ability. What they are interested in is having a multi-CDN delivery strategy, and Radar provides actionable data to make decisions on which CDNs to use. Openmix takes it further and implements your business rules on a real-time basis. That’s a powerful combination.”

“One trend we’ve seen in the past few months—a trend we think is especially applicable to video delivery—is the combination of cloud and private data center caching,” said Malnati. “In these scenarios, the pendulum of the cloud-versus-data center debate has come back to the forefront.

“No longer must the content owner decide between only hosting their own delivery solutions or renting out services from a CDN,” he added. “Now they can use geographically local data centers to cache popular content near hotspot or trending viewing locations that Radar identifies as matching their core audience base.”

Finally, to make it easier to access data, Malnati says the company has updated free benchmark reports on the Cedexis.com website. He stressed the fact that these free reports are based on real user measurements, not synthetic agents often in use in other measurement tools.

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