We’ve just added more than 55,000 new servers to make Xero faster and more reliable.
In the infrastructure team we’re a bit like the odd ones out at Xero. We’re not out there developing it, we don’t shape what it looks like, and we don’t connect new customers to Xero, nor do we support customers as they use it. In fact, it’s always seemed to me, that our team ends up using Xero less than anyone else at Xero.
That’s not because we don’t like it, but because we spend our time and effort behind the scenes. In infrastructure we care about two things: Xero being up, and Xero being FAST!Craig has spoken in the past about our approach to Client Side performance, and a key part of our initial approach was implementing a rudimentary Content Delivery Network (CDN) to bring our cached content closer to our customers.
I knew that Xero needed a more mature CDN to help us scale up and deliver improved performance to customers across the globe. If you’re serious about wide-scale performance, Akamai should be your first point of call. Akamai have more than 55,000 servers around the world, in over 70 countries, and their servers are within one network hop of 90% of Internet users.
Earlier this year, Craig and I meet up with Akamai’s Australasian representatives and this was the first time we saw Akamai’s Web Application Accelerator in action. We were blown away by this technology and I knew we just had to get it on board.
I’m not going to go in to all the technical details of how Web Application Accelerator (WAA) works but if you’re interested, Akamai have a presentation here. An elevator pitch is that WAA not only delivers content closer to customers, it speeds up the dynamic content over the fastest route, not the cheapest (which is the opposite of how the Internet normally works).
Thanks to the Akamai team for working with us over the last few months and enabling us to deliver a faster, more responsive Xero to our customers.