Google has launched a brand new Content Delivery Network service that uses its globally distributed edge caches to place data near consumers, thus reducing serve time significantly.
The launch of the service — which is currently in its Alpha version — is mainly aimed at freelance developers looking to provide their apps with that extra burst of speed.
According to Google,
“Google Cloud CDN (Content Delivery Network) uses Google’s globally distributed edge caches to cache HTTP(S) Load Balanced content close to your users. Caching content at the edges of Google’s network provides faster delivery of content to your users while reducing the load on your servers.”
In English, developers using Google’s CDN with their app/websites will be able to respond to consumer request at faster speeds.
So, how does it work? Well, Google obviously has an extremely wide network that is spread through out the world. So, whenever someone requests data from your website, the request passes through locations at the very edges of this network — which are way closer to that user than your own servers.
So when a request is made for the very first time, it is passed on directly to your own instance via Google’s edge caches, which records the response of the instance to the request.
Thats pretty much it. Now, whenever the same request is made of your website, the edge, which in all likelihood is quite closer to the user than your own instance, directly responds to it. As per Google,
“The cache responds directly to the user, shortening the round trip time and saving your instances the overhead of processing the request.”
The process is pretty much automatic and once you activate the CDN, every cacheable object is stored in a particular cache if a request for the object passes that cache.
While not all objects or requests are cacheable, it is probably a safe bet to assume that the majority of them are. As such, Google’s network will mean a significant boost in the overall performance as well as reduced load upon your instance.
Well, the launch is certainly a big step up for Google. While until now, it had been depending upon its partnerships with CDN providers including Fastly, Level 3, Akamai etc. to maintain its presence in the niche, it can now directly take to the field where apart from its partners, it will face-off against the likes of Microsoft and Amazon, which already have well established CDN services.
The service is not perfect yet — Alpha mode and all — and has several known issues, such as how files larger than 4 MB are not cached. However, its a start and its probably fair to expect Google to keep working upon improving its CDN service.