Content Delivery Infrastructure Updates


Varnish Software Releases Open Source “Hitch” for SSL Termination

Varnish doesn’t natively support TLS/SSL, so it has turned to a dedicated TLS terminator to end those connections. Hitch is a standalone piece of software provided by Varnish Software, which it touts as a “scalable, open source, high performance, libev-based SSL/TLS proxy” that is used widely for TLS/SSL termination. The solution sits in front of Varnish, and makes sure that content is delivered via https without coming in contact with the data over the wire. Hitch functions as a “dumb” IP proxy as well, so that it hides client IP addresses without adding an X-Forwarded-For (XFF) header on its own, remaining oblivious to the data transferred all the while.

Using this proxy protocol, Varnish goes ahead and adds an XFF header based on the client.ip variable, which also means that Varnish is aware of the original IP address and the content of the data that is being transferred. Hitch sends a short header as a preamble to Varnish, before the main connection data, which Varnish then uses to populate the client.ip and server.ip. Varnish needs to be made aware of Hitch’s proxy protocol by being instructed to listen for the extra port via an additional command parameter. Thus the primary port is http in Varnish, while the proxy protocol is detected by the secondary port. The end result is that the client.ip is associated with the real client IP from the protocol as opposed to the terminating TLS/SSL proxy.

Portugal-France Championship Sets Live Sports Streaming Record of 7.3 Tbps For Akamai

Akamai is reporting on its blog that the CDN giant has a set a new peak-traffic record for live streaming of a sporting event during the recently concluded championship football match between France and Portugal. Streaming traffic of Portugal’s 1-0 triumph over France hit a traffic peak of 7.3 Tbps when the nail-biter of a match went into overtime, also reaching a peak of 3.3 million concurrent streams. This surpasses the previous record of 7.0 Tbps set by the Argentina-Netherlands semifinal match during the 2014 World Cup. The quadrennial tournament, which lasted for month, was streamed by more than 35 rights-holding broadcasters, all of whom worked with Akamai’s Intelligent Platform.

According to Akamai, the data from the event shows that while linear television viewing remains the most popular medium for large-scale live events such as the UEFA Euro 2016, more and more viewers are tuning in online and are expecting high-quality streaming experiences to boot. Akamai is commenting that these shifting realities are forcing broadcasters to prepare months ahead in anticipation of events of this magnitude. The upcoming Summer Olympics, which are being held in Brazil, also promises to be one of the most watched live events ever. Akamai’s blog reports that it will be working with over 50 rights-holding broadcasters to stream this even.

Varnish Software Launches Varnish Professional Services

Varnish Software has recently released its Professional Services, which is available in Europe. Varnish is touting Professional Services as a higher-capacity solution for Varnish development, suitable for innovative, tailored, and unique applications. Users of the solution also get access to one-on-one expert customer service from a Varnish consultant. Per its blog, Varnish is advertising the following additions that come with the service:

  • Expert consulting services
  • Onsite implementation of Varnish
  • Ongoing consulting for customer projects
  • In-depth technical review and health checks
  • Detailed recommendations for future-proofing
  • Pre-installation architecture review
  • Post-installation migration assistance

Incapsula Mitigates 470 Gbps DDoS Attack

On June 14, Impervia Incapsula mitigated the largest assault it had ever encountered — a 470 Gbps distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) which targeted a Chinese gambling company and lasted for over four hours. While it wasn’t as sophisticated as others, Incapsula wryly notes that the magnitude of this brute-force attack has set a new benchmark in its ongoing cat-and-mouse game with cyber criminals. The opening salvo of the attack hit 250 Gbps and built up over the hours until it reached a crescendo of 470 Gbps, before subsiding 30 minutes later.

The nine-vector assault relied on nine different payload types, which is pretty rare, with the majority of the traffic being delivered via SYN payloads, and then UDP and SCP payloads. Attackers usually vary up the packet-type to throw off mitigators and try to use extremely high packet forwarding rates hoping to max out the processing capabilities of mitigators. In this case the attackers in question changed their approach midway through the event, switching to smaller packets to bolster the assault packet per second (PPS) rate to a peak 110 million pps.With over two Tbps in total network capacity, Incapsula boasts that its capabilities were never in question during the attack, which it successfully mitigated.

Google Cloud Invests $300M in Undersea Cable Linking US and Japan

Google has just announced a massive investment in long-haul undersea fiber optic cabling with the FASTER Cable System, which boasts up to 60 Tbps of bandwidth capacity. Google will have access to 10 Tbps of the total to support its Google App and Cloud Platform users. The cable connects US and Japan and is the highest capacity undersea cable ever built. Google now owns four undersea cables, with more expected to arrive in the future.

The cable is expected to support Google’s forthcoming Cloud Platform East Asia region based in Tokyo. The bandwidth provided by the cable is also expected to be a valuable redundancy to prevent network outages in the region, which is prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, and seismic activity. Google, along with its five other partner companies in the FASTER commission, footed the $300 million bill for the 5,600 mile trans-Pacific cable. Streams 500,000+ via HLS on NGINX is the online arm of Grupo Globo, the top television brand in Brazil, which is responsible for providing online distribution channels for the news, sports, and entertainment content produced by the company. One of the biggest technical hurdles this popular website faces is supporting up to hundreds of thousands of simultaneous live video streams. ran into overloading issues during its broadcast of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when it struggled to support 300,000 live streams using its own media server and a Real Time Messaging Protocol.

The resulting crashes resulted in lost clientele and profits. As such, the website decided to turn to NGINX to provide HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). The HTTP Live Streaming solution allows to leverage cacheing and load balancing benefits, while being compatible with streaming on iOS devices. The high-performance and scalable solution also allows to monitor its video architecture.

For the 2014 World Cup, was able to load balance requests across 80 frontend NGINX nodes in two data centers that cached video segments from 6 backend NGINX nodes. The result was that the site supported 500,000 viewers without a hitch, with peak video requests of 125,000 per second and throughput exceeding 640 Gbps. The solution was also highly efficient, with the frontend nodes using 10% of CPU to deliver video at 19 Gbps. NGINX boasts that it is the number one web-server for the 100,000 busiest websites in the world.

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