Do you get frustrated when, occasionally, your banking or shopping (eCommerce) app takes a break – goes on ‘smoko‘ – with a ‘spinning wheel’ holiday?
I do. It really gets up my nose, seriously messing with my state of mind. There’s something remarkably frustrating about an app that seems to understand when I’m in a hurry, or otherwise stressed, so picks just that moment to ‘flip the spinning wheel’. We used to joke about PCs having a special stress detection circuit – and crashing whenever the worst possible moment was detected. (When a presentation was due or just before saving the last hour of programming.) Now it feels like the app on vacation has taken on that role. An app that can normally be relied upon, and is now in our critical path throughout the day, simply decides to hang – or slow down. This is not the path to a happy Michael; in fact, I’m ashamed to say that these apps have the power to seriously piss me off. Even though we love a scapegoat, apps often flip the spinning wheel through no fault of their own, often because of the realities of the Internet. While we like to think of the Internet as highly efficient and transparent (I can connect to anywhere, anytime, etc) the reality is somewhat different. One major issue is ‘Internet Weather‘ – where congestion on a set of links can make a tremendous difference for how long it takes to connect one device with a server. Indeed, because of handshakes and repeated connections, even minimal delays add up. For our colleagues who are responsible for keeping apps responsive this is an ulcer driving challenge.
This is why i’m excited about Apakau
Apakau is a new company in the Citrix Startup Accelerator, with the concept of Data Delivery Networks – showing a 10x improvement in app responsiveness and directly tackling the ‘spinning wheel’. They recently published a paper demonstrating the advantages of their approach. If you publish apps, you should take a look. Here’s their blog.
A data delivery network is complementary to content delivery networks.
It is built for dynamic data and APIs, including data needed by iOS and Android mobile applications. Web and mobile applications can perform tens of times faster than existing methods by caching dynamic data and APIs at geo-distributed edge nodes that are physically located close to users. The use of a DDN also protects mobile and web applications from outages caused by traffic spikes and DDoS attacks. For more info, check the Apakau blog and paper at http://bit.ly/1EiRsrj.