O'Reilly's Performance Optimizations in a Cloud-Centric World

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Access to data you could never create yourself Third-party data sources do create risks, but they also enhance the attractiveness of your system by providing data that you otherwise wouldn't be able to provide but that your users rely upon—either because that data is about a third-party system (e.g., Twitter feeds), or because it would not be economical (e.g., mapping data). ey improve performance and resilience While they are out of your control, most cloud-based systems have higher levels of resilience built in than you would build into an equivalent system. Likewise, though, there are potential issues created by how CDNs route traffic; CDNs will usually offer performance improvements over systems that do not use them. Cloud-based systems are also built for high performance and throughput and designed to scale out of the box. Many services will scale automatically and invisibly to you as the consumer, and others will scale at the click of a button or an API call. Access to systems run by specialists in the area—not generalists In house or using a general data center, you may have a small team dedicated to a task—or more likely, a team of generalists who have a degree of expertise across a range of areas. Bringing in a range of specialist cloud providers allows to you work with entire compa‐ nies that are dedicated to expertise in specific areas, such as secu‐ rity, DNS, or geolocation. Performance Risks Despite these advantages, it's important to be aware of the inherent performance risks, especially in this era where good website perfor‐ mance is key to user satisfaction. The next sections cover important considerations for performance and outline key performance risks, following the journey that a user must travel in order to take advan‐ tage of your website. 1. The Last Mile Before any user can access your website, they need to connect from their device to your servers. The first stage of this connection, between the user's device and the Internet backbone, is known as the last mile. For a desktop user, this is usually the connection to their 2 | Chapter 1: Losing Control

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