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Aug 28, 2015

New POP broadens European presence

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European point of presenceInternap has recently added an additional European point of presence (POP) to our Amsterdam, Netherlands data center. By expanding the number of POPs in the region, end users in Europe will benefit from optimized network performance and faster content delivery.

Ecommerce businesses and the online gaming market in Europe are growing massively, and users require lightning-fast downloads, page load times and a smooth online experience. Looking forward, improved network performance requirements will only increase as Europe experiences substantial growth in the usage and monetization of free to play (F2P) games, and e-commerce sales are expected to grow by 18.4%, according to research from RetailMeNot.

Geographic proximity

Achieving the level of performance required to optimally run online applications and meet users’ expectations can be difficult when users are geographically dispersed and accessing content through a variety of devices. Ensuring that users are always connected to the closest geographical server can improve content delivery, resulting in a better user experience.

Internap’s Amsterdam data center features a wide array of services to provide the fastest and most robust solution for our customers. By taking advantage of our Performance IP™ service and patented Managed Internet Route Optimizer™ (MIRO) technology, end users can benefit from the best possible online experience across Europe and around the globe.

With the addition of the Amsterdam location, Internap now has 88 POPs worldwide. This expansion of our European footprint marks another step towards our commitment to provide performance without compromise.

Learn more about our Amsterdam data center, including carriers, security and services here.

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Aug 25, 2015

NY Metro data center receives LEED Platinum and ENERGY STAR certifications

Ansley Kilgore

As the old adage goes, platinum is a data center’s best friend.

We’re proud to announce that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has recognized our Secaucus, New Jersey facility as a LEED Platinum data center. In addition, the location was also awarded ENERGY STAR certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

These achievements are the latest in a long list of green data center certifications that demonstrate our commitment to sustainable, energy-efficient design. Internap’s Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Santa Clara data centers already have LEED, Green Globes and ENERGY STAR ratings.

Aside from these accolades, let’s take a look at how our green data center strategy benefits our colocation customers.

High-density power

We’ve noticed a strong upward trend in data center power usage among our customer base, particularly since the beginning of 2013. View the Infographic: The rise of high density power

The need for access to additional power is critical for colocation customers that must scale their applications and infrastructure. That’s why we incorporate additional circuits into the design of our data centers. This allows customers to scale in a cost-effective manner without having to invest in a larger colocation footprint.

Learn more: Internap’s NY Metro data center provides 18kW per rack and beyond.

Hybridization

Contrary to what the commodity cloud providers would have you believe, the cloud is not the best option for all workloads. In addition to high-density power considerations, the Secaucus data center was designed with hybridization in mind. The ability to use a combination of colocation and cloud services gives Internap customers a higher degree of flexibility when building a best-fit infrastructure.

At Internap, our customers benefit from our commitment to data center efficiency.
Green data center design is about achieving performance requirements in the most efficient way possible. The Secaucus, New Jersey data center was designed with sustainability in mind, allowing us to provide cost-effective, high-performance infrastructure for our customers.

Learn more: Download the NY Metro data center data sheet.

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Aug 21, 2015

More than speed: Why IP service matters

Ansley Kilgore

At Internap, our Performance IPTM service is fundamental to our high-performance infrastructure offerings. By leveraging the strength of multiple carriers, Performance IP routes your traffic over the best performing path to minimize network problems. The result is redundant, high-speed connections with ultra-low latency to ensure that your workloads and applications can achieve optimal performance.

But Performance IP isn’t just about speed. Our customers use it as part of their high-performance infrastructure for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at the different ways our customers benefit from Performance IP.

Adtech: engage BDR

Companies in the adtech space require ultra-low latency to serve ads and respond to bid requests within an ad exchange. As a digital advertising company, engage:BDR initially used Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its infrastructure needs, but after expanding into the realm of programmatic ad purchasing, bandwidth usage increased dramatically and so did costs. As a result, the company began looking for a more cost-effective alternative. engage:BDR now uses HorizonIQ’s Performance IP service and Content Delivery Network (CDN) to keep latency low and process up to 2 billion queries per day.

Mobile gaming: Crowdstar

The ability to provide a flawless user experience is critical for mobile gaming companies like Crowdstar. Focused exclusively on female gamers, the company needed a scalable infrastructure that could support traffic surges and game upgrades without compromising on performance requirements.

By using Performance IP along with bare-metal servers, Crowdstar was able to reduce rendering speed by 60-70 milliseconds on average per render. Crowdstar’s real-time rendering engine processes hundreds of renders per minute, so this represented a significant cost savings and also provided a better user experience.

Website security: Distil Networks

In addition to low latency and speed, Distil Networks had a specific IP requirement that other providers couldn’t meet. As an enterprise-class bot-blocking solution, Distil Networks needed the ability to do BGP broadcast with anycast, so that they don’t need an extra set of IP addresses. Essentially, the Distil Networks prefix shows up as a local preference to ‘eyeball’ networks, regardless of origin. Performance IP allows Distil Networks to operate a proxy service that is faster than most CDNs, without having to significantly invest in network and transit provider contracts. Since Performance IP is an aggregate of several tier-1 networks, cost control is much easier than having to directly manage commits for multiple carriers.

In the examples above, each company has a different business case for Performance IP. Many of our customers use it via other HorizonIQ infrastructure services, such as managed hosting, colocation, or cloud – all of which are faster and more effective because of Performance IP and its underlying Managed Internet Route OptimizerTM technology. Regardless of industry or use case, Performance IP gives HorizonIQ customers the ability to create a high-performance, low-latency infrastructure at a reasonable cost.

 

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Aug 17, 2015

How Startup-Friendly is Your Managed Hosting Provider?

Ansley Kilgore

Startup companies face unique challenges when it comes to Internet infrastructure. Decisions about servers and technology are often based on what you can afford and what will meet your requirements in the short term. But while your initial prototype may not require a powerful infrastructure, the technical needs of your customers will become more complex as business grows.

Finding the right service provider to meet new requirements is challenging for startups. Increased customization and the ability to scale without sacrificing performance are difficult to achieve, and vendor contracts aren’t always startup-friendly.

Let’s take a look at some challenges faced—and conquered—by Distil Networks, a global leader in bot detection that uses managed hosting and other services from Internap.

Latency

Distil Networks’ customers began experiencing latency issues as a result of increased network traffic, and the company needed to expand its footprint in North America to get closer to users and reduce latency. But in many cases, the locations and services that Distil Networks required were only available from enterprise-class managed hosting providers with enterprise-class prices, according to Distil Networks CTO Engin Akyol.

Customization

As Distil Networks grew, it required a more customized infrastructure to meet its evolving technology needs. And of course, it needed to address all these needs in a cost-efficient manner for their limited startup budget.

A few requirements emerged that are unique to Distil Networks’ global CDN-based bot-blocking software. Taking on more customers required an anycast network with anycast IP routing to allow Distil Networks to advertise an IP prefix from multiple data centers. Additionally, global customers required functionality that wasn’t supported by off-the-shelf load balancers, but the company couldn’t afford to upgrade to the higher tier model that provided the features they needed.

Performance and scale

Distil Networks offers a latency-sensitive CDN-like service that requires raw CPU power, and the performance of its cloud instances was unpredictable. To support traffic surges without overprovisioning resources, the company needed the performance of physical servers with the scalability of cloud. But using a mix of providers to achieve the desired performance levels comes with its own set of challenges.

Finding startup-friendly service providers

Simply put, many service provider contracts aren’t startup-friendly. Starting a business involves risk and uncertainty, which often makes investing in long-term infrastructure or committing to long-term contracts unfeasible. As a result, many service providers are out of reach for startups, either because prices are too high or terms are too long.

The one rack you need in a colocation facility won’t give you any leverage on price with larger vendors and commodity cloud providers. But if things go well, the one rack you need today may multiply to 20 by the end of the year, and finding a provider that understands the growth potential of your business can help you secure a better contract.

Vendor consolidation

One of the most valuable lessons learned by Distil Networks is this: Don’t underestimate the amount of time you will spend negotiating prices and figuring out invoices from different providers. The more vendors you use, the more difficult this process becomes.

From a technology perspective, one provider also means one set of rules when integrating APIs. This helped Distil Networks streamline their deployment process and get customers up and running more quickly. Trying to integrate different API rules for multiple providers was a nightmare.

Cost

For startups, most things ultimately come down to cost. Distil Networks used Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its initial prototype, but because of increasing costs, the company limited its use and eventually transitioned to Internap.

Keep an eye out for “hidden” costs, too. Be sure to clarify what is metered and what isn’t; for example, some cloud providers charge per request instead of metering only storage and transfer, which can result in unexpected costs.

Support may also cost extra. Distil Networks was required to pay an additional amount, which was a percentage of their total bill, simply to get Amazon to answer their emails.

Finding high-performance infrastructure at the right price isn’t always possible with large enterprise-class vendors. By consolidating its infrastructure with Internap, Distil Networks has successfully transitioned from a SMB-focused tech startup to an enterprise-class bot blocking machine.

Learn more in the Distil Networks case study.

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Aug 11, 2015

Dirty little secrets of commodity cloud providers

Ansley Kilgore

cloud providersRecently, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled, Cloud-Computing Kingpins Slow to Adapt to Own Movement. The crux of the piece is that while companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are telling customers to use the cloud for everything – run applications, store data and host internal software development – they aren’t practicing what they preach.

Reliability and security

Thanks to advancements in cloud security, some large commodity cloud providers are slowly beginning to adopt their own cloud services. But there is still plenty of irony in this scenario. In a sense, these providers have the same concerns about reliability and security as other organizations that are making decisions about what should migrate to cloud infrastructure and what shouldn’t. And despite the benefits of cloud computing, there will always be some things that work better in a physical environment.

The case for hybrid

Despite the fact that they sell public cloud services, these providers know that ultimately, a hybrid model works best for most companies, as well as for their own products and services.

At Internap, we’ve been shouting the hybrid infrastructure message from the rooftops for a few years now. The knowledge that some workloads perform better on dedicated hardware isn’t new. Cloud is not one-size-fits-all. So if it seems like these cloud geniuses want you to use cloud for all your use cases, don’t believe the hype.

Optimal performance and scale

Amazon Web Service (AWS) and other providers have great cloud products. AWS offers an accessible, inexpensive way for new businesses to gain access to cloud servers and start developing a prototype or proof of concept.

At Internap, we’ve noticed a pattern among our customers that have data-intensive and/or latency-sensitive applications and workloads. Many of them initially used AWS, but experienced performance, scale and cost issues as their business grew. As a result, we have several high-performance customers that have moved away from AWS to address these issues.

Internap’s AWS Graduates: Distil Networks

Distil Networks is a great example of an Internap customer that tried AWS, Rackspace, Softlayer and others but eventually transitioned to Internap. Distil Networks protects websites from bots and other non-human visitors to ensure web security for its customers.

When the company began, it created a proof of concept using AWS instances to help with fundraising for the business. But as their initial customers grew and network traffic increased, Distil Networks required high compute and low latency with dedicated Internet connectivity to continue providing the best possible service for its customers. The high cost of accomplishing this with AWS led Distil Networks to evaluate other providers.

Distil Networks met its requirements by creating a hybrid environment that includes Internap’s dedicated bare-metal servers for baseline traffic and public cloud for scalability. Along with Internap’s route-optimized Performance IPTM service, managed hosting and colocation, Distil Networks is able to maintain a global, scalable high-performance infrastructure with a relatively small staff.

The moral of the story is that while the commodity cloud works great in certain scenarios, companies with high-performance requirements may need a more specialized solution. And with the price-performance benefits of bare metal, establishing a best-fit environment doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive, even for a startup’s budget.

At Internap, we focus on delivering performance without compromise. It’s what we do. And if the cloud giants don’t rely solely on cloud for their business-critical applications and workloads, you shouldn’t either.

Learn more about Distil Networks’ infrastructure growing pains in the webinar: A Startup’s Journey.

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Aug 6, 2015

News roundup: GDC Europe 2015

Ansley Kilgore

GDC Europe 2015Earlier this week, Europe’s largest gathering of game developers took place in Köln, Germany. We’ve compiled a few newsworthy articles to keep you updated on the highlights of the show.

Microsoft CEO: HoloLens Development Kit Ships ‘Within The Next Year;’ AR Headset Gets Xbox Live

At the GDC Europe session, “One Game Across PC, Phone, Xbox and HoloLens,” A Microsoft Games Evangelist revealed that gaming could be on the horizon for the new augmented reality headset. In a separate interview, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said samples of the Microsoft HoloLens development kit will begin shipping by next year, but will be geared toward developers and enterprises first. The consumer version of the AR headset is said to be on a “five year journey”. Read entire article.

GDC Europe Liveblog – Designing to Minimize Simulation Sickness in VR Games

Simulation sickness, when a player feels sick after playing a videogame, has recently received more attention due to the promotion of VR head-mounted displays (HMDs). VR is notorious for producing simulation sickness, but some players can experience simulation sickness in a wide range of videogames, with or without VR. This talk will cover basic design guidelines, based on research that can be followed by developers to reduce the risk of simulation sickness, both in VR and as a general aid to making their game more accessible to a wide range of players.
Read entire article.

GDC Europe 2015: The gaming industry has a woman problem

A panel of women from companies like Square Enix, King, NaturalMotion and Gameloft came together at GDC Europe today to share their experiences as women in the industry and offer advice for increasing diversity. In the gaming industry, hiring and retaining women starts with company culture. This panel discussion also covers discrepancies in pay for women in gaming, and suggestions for creating a more flexible and inclusive work environment.
Read entire article.

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