Interview with Ariel Weil, VP at Yottaa


Yottaa, the next generation CDN continues to make progress in all facets of the business, especially in the eCommerce market, where they’re winning over customers like Billabong, eBags and RVCA Apparel. Over the last six years, Yottaa has radically transformed its business model, from the standard Caching +DDoS + WAF, to a premium hybrid CDN service catering to the upper echelons of the eCommerce segment, having developed a deep portfolio of value added services for the CMO demographic.

The new executive management team has done a phenomenal job increasing the Average Monthly Spend to one of the highest in pure-play segment. Besides that, Yottaa is going head to head in accounts with larger CDNs and winning. One of the cool metrics they offer enables customers to see the amount of revenue generated over a period of time that is made possible by the Yottaa platform. A big thanks for Ariel Weil and the Executive Team for the interview.

What is an “Adaptive CDN” and how is it different from a traditional CDN? Yottaa’s cloud-based application optimization platform accelerates web and mobile apps and includes delivery, acceleration, security and analytics. We call the platform ContextIntelligence. The platform is differentiated because we optimize from end-to-end, from your web infrastructure to your app, to your users’ in-browser experience, and those optimizations are based on a rules engine that adapts to real-time conditions.

The AdaptiveCDN is the delivery portion of ContextIntelligence. The capability isn’t different than traditional CDN services per se, but is unique because we use our own as well as our partners’ CDN resources to ensure global presence and distributed caching. Instead of competing on the basis of delivery, Yottaa is winning clients because we ensure that personalized experiences are fast and secure across every channel and that shows measurable impact from a business perspective.

Can Yottaa’s eCommerce customers measure “net new sales” made possible with your Adaptive CDN? Yes they can, in several ways. Early on Yottaa felt it was important that we provide our customers with a repeatable, product-agnostic means of measuring the business impact of CDN. We begin during the POC process, where we use a process called ValidateIT that splits traffic at the DNS level and uses existing 3rd party business analytics to tag and measure business impact.

Our partner, Iterate Studio, uses this approach when they work with eCommerce and retail clients who are searching for a solution for online channel performance and that methodology has allowed us to acquire some great customers. On an ongoing basis, the ContextIntelligence platform includes an analytics component called ImpactAnalytics that can combine and correlate infrastructure, application, end user and business impact metrics to paint a picture of how acceleration and security configurations are improving top line growth as well as ensuring bottom line savings.

The business metric analysis is consistent between ValidateIT and ImpactAnalytics, and is routinely employed together with other CRO techniques and tools including A/B testing with e.g. Optimizely, Test & Target and more.

How does Yottaa secure customers from DDoS and web application attacks? The ContextIntelligence platform includes a security component we call ContextSAFE. ContextSAFE provides a layer 4-7 web application firewall (WAF) as well as Origin Shielding and global DDoS mitigation capability at the edge.

Yottaa inspects incoming traffic via layers, from securing communication ports, to verifying visitor signatures against an evolving set of known profiles, to inspecting HTML metadata and verifying users, and applies protections using a combined set of rules to test & verify, redirect, rate limit, block or allow traffic based on the previous set of criteria and including things like geography, IP Address or CIDR block. Our integrated security capabilities have been keeping our customers safe from attacks and data breaches, and has enabled billions of dollars in secure online transactions.

You mentioned that Yottaa injects javascript libraries into the browser, which enables Yottaa to accelerate performance over the last mile. Why is that important? Yottaa’s ContextIntelligence platform is all about context. Fifteen years ago Akamai set out to make the internet safe and fast for business and coined the term situational performance. Today, situations are too general – the non-specific nature of managing web traffic based on a finite set of HTML headers cannot meet the needs of modern enterprises. Users expect personalized experiences from pages that load in 4 seconds or less across any device or form factor.

Meanwhile those same pages are averaging 1.5MB or more in size and require 100s of assets to be downloaded from distributed sources securely, and right-sized to desktop, tablet and smartphone presentations. The only way to do this effectively is to be in the browser, which is why Yottaa developed the ContextAgent javascript library. ContextAgent creates a buffer between the fully compiled HTML that our customers’ CMS or eCommerce platform delivers, and the browser running on a visitor’s device.

Creating this buffer means that we are platform and device/OS/browser agnostic, so we work in any situation. When we deliver the first byte of content to the browser, the ContextAgent library is included. From that point forward, Yottaa gets a real time view of the visible viewport dimensions (which is superior to a device detection library since it is always accurate and never requires an update based on new devices), events generated by the browser in response to user actions or application execution, and an understanding of what app content is visible in the viewport at any given moment.

Using this real-time intelligence Yottaa can intelligently decide on what content to request from where, when to send it, and when and how to render it on-screen for the user. Traditional CDNs work hard to eliminate infrastructure latency by accelerating the delivery of content to the browser which solves a 200 millisecond problem. Yottaa focuses beyond infrastructure latency on the application, eliminating the latency from dynamic content and personalization and ensuring the fastest performance, a tunable platform to maximize user engagement without code change, and in the end the best possible business impact for every online channel.

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