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Managing Fast Data in a Content Delivery Network

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MaxCDN is a content delivery network (CDN) provider that emphasizes reducing the latency and increasing the reliability of its rich-content delivery. It provides CDN services to digital advertisers, ad networks, publishers, hosting providers, gaming companies, and mobile providers.

The company’s business challenge was to provide customers with real-time analytics of content delivery in addition to having a reliable and accurate billing engine. MaxCDN sought to deploy a solution that could process CDN logs in real-time so data would be visible to the user in less than 15 seconds from the time the log was generated by the web server when serving the content. MaxCDN also needed a solution that would guarantee no data loss for billing purposes, as well as horizontal scalability to support ever-increasing content loads.

Many developers look to a combination of Apache projects, such as Zookeeper, Kafka, Storm, Spark or Cassandra, or to the Lambda Architecture, to solve fast data challenges. However, these approaches require a massive development effort to patch together a solution, often sacrificing performance, ACID guarantees, and ease of use.

MaxCDN selected Volt Active Data over other streaming aggregation offerings for its SQL interface, ability to support real-time ad-hoc queries, its computational efficiency, and simple design. With Volt Active Data, MaxCDN uses roughly 1/10th of the CPU cycles that would have been required with alternative solutions, a conservative estimate the company reached after investigating alternate solutions that promised to deliver comparable real-time performance. MaxCDN’s challenge includes real-time aggregation of over 32 TB of daily web server log data.

Volt Active Data helps customers like MaxCDN concentrate development resources on their applications rather than on the data processing infrastructure. It is purpose-built for companies like MaxCDN that need a fast, scalable database capable of processing streaming data and making in-transaction decisions with sub-millisecond latency. For more detail on how MaxCDN accomplished its technical and business goals, read the case study.