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Lori MacVittie

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A Simple Trick For Faster Apps | @DevOpsSummit #APM #DevOps #AI #ML

Worried about the operational cost to update every web application server?

I am often humbled by the depth of insight of those who toil in the trenches of the enterprise data center.

At our Agility conference back in August, my cohort and I gave a presentation on the State of Application Delivery. One of the interesting tidbits of data we offered was that, over the course of the past year, our iHealth data shows a steady and nearly even split of HTTP and HTTPS traffic. To give you an example, my data from October was derived from over 3 million (3, 087, 211 to be precise) virtual servers. Of those, roughly 32% were configured to support HTTP, and another 30% were supporting HTTPS.

Now, I’ve been looking at this data for more than a year, and it has stayed roughly the same with only slight variations up or down, but always within a couple percentage points of each other. But it wasn’t until a particularly astute customer spoke up that I understood why that split existed in the first place. After all, the rise of SSL Everywhere is well-documented. Our own data supports it, industry data supports it, and the move to support only TLS-enabled connections from browser via HTTP/2 is forcing it. But why, then, the split?

“Redirects, ” the customer told me, giving me a look that seemed to question how I had not seen that before. Indeed. The Curse of Knowledge strikes again.

Once elucidated, it seems obvious. And of course, sites are going to encourage HTTPS but they aren’t going to sacrifice their web presence in doing so. That means gently herded millions of customers who have been taught to type in “http” to a more secure site. That’s what redirects do.

But they do more than just enable a more secure application experience. They add the application experience’s evil nemesis to the equation. That’s right.

[cue dramatic, spine-tingling music] Latency.

You see, a redirect tells the browser "you know, you should load this URI instead”. And then browser says, “okay, I’ll do that.” And then it has to basically start over. The existing TCP connection is invalid. A new one, requiring a repeat of the TCP handshake and then adding on the requirement to negotiate TLS or SSL requirements. All this adds up to more time. It negatively affects the application experience by dragging out the connection process. This is particularly noticeable on mobile connections, where compute and bandwidth is often constrained and leads to “hanging pages” and other horrific web app loading experiences.

Poor performance leads to abandonment. Abandonment leads to loss of revenue or conversions. And loss of either leads to, well, not a good place.

But I wouldn’t be offering commentary on a problem if I didn’t have a solution cause, Midwestern gal here.

Turns out you can eliminate redirects and their negative effect on the web application experience a couple of ways. First, and for those security minded folks the best, use HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) headers instead. Once responses are received with HSTS headers, the browser is forced to subsequently behave in a manner compliant with the policy imparted. For example, it will automatically change any insecure (http) links to secure (https) links. That means http://mydomain.com/mystuff/ will automatically become https://mydomain.com/mystuff/.  Once a browser sees an HSTS header from a site, it will not use HTTP again. Even if you type it into the address bar and try to force it, it will refuse to do so, instead replacing it with HTTPS and making the request securely.

By specifying a really long “max-age”, say a year (that’s 31, 536, 000 seconds for one non-leap year), you eliminate the drag on performance from future redirects, and ensure a faster, more pleasant application experience for not only mobile users, but all users. It’s just more likely that mobile customers will actually notice a difference, given the differences between mobile and tethered connectivity.

Another option is to ensure that you aren’t relying on temporary redirects (HTTP 302). You want to make sure you’re at least using permanent redirects (HTTP 301) to force browsers to use the secure location for as long as possible in the future. Permanent redirects are cached locally, so they can be lost due to cache cleaning, but they’re better than temporary redirects.

Worried about the operational cost to update every web application server? Fear not, header insertion is (or should be) a basic capability of any application delivery solution you’re using for load balancing or web application security services. They can insert headers transparently into an HTTP response with a few lines of configuration or code, reducing the effort required to virtually (heh, pardon my pun) nothing. Neither the user not the application should notice anything except for an improvement in overall performance.

It’s a simple change, but one that can have a noticeable impact on the application experience (a.k.a. web performance).

The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

@CloudExpo / @ThingsExpo 2017 New York 
(June 6-8, 2017, Javits Center, Manhattan)

@CloudExpo / @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsors of Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

Secrets of Sponsors and Exhibitors ▸ Here
Secrets of Cloud Expo Speakers ▸ Here

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Track 1. FinTech
Track 2. Enterprise Cloud | Digital Transformation
Track 3. DevOps, Containers & Microservices 
Track 4. Big Data | Analytics
Track 5. Industrial IoT
Track 6. IoT Dev & Deploy | Mobility
Track 7. APIs | Cloud Security
Track 8. AI | ML | DL | Cognitive Computing

Delegates to Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo will be able to attend 8 simultaneous, information-packed education tracks.

There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.

Join Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA for three days of intense Enterprise Cloud and 'Digital Transformation' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indispensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and (IIoT) Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) Digital Transformation in Vertical Markets.

Financial Technology - or FinTech - Is Now Part of the @CloudExpo Program!

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech, which will incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and blockchain into one track.

Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses.

FinTech brings efficiency as well as the ability to deliver new services and a much improved customer experience throughout the global financial services industry. FinTech is a natural fit with cloud computing, as new services are quickly developed, deployed, and scaled on public, private, and hybrid clouds.

More than US$20 billion in venture capital is being invested in FinTech this year. @CloudExpo is pleased to bring you the latest FinTech developments as an integral part of our program, starting at the 20th International Cloud Expo June 6-8, 2017 in New York City and October 31 - November 2, 2017 in Silicon Valley.

@CloudExpo is accepting submissions for this new track, so please visit www.CloudComputingExpo.com for the latest information.

Speaking Opportunities

The upcoming 20th International @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA announces that its Call For Papers for speaking opportunities is open.

Submit your speaking proposal today! ▸ Here

Our Top 100 Sponsors and the Leading "Digital Transformation" Companies

(ISC)2, 24Notion (Bronze Sponsor), 910Telecom, Accelertite (Gold Sponsor), Addteq, Adobe (Bronze Sponsor), Aeroybyte, Alert Logic, Anexia, AppNeta, Avere Systems, BMC Software (Silver Sponsor), Bsquare Corporation (Silver Sponsor), BZ Media (Media Sponsor), Catchpoint Systems (Silver Sponsor), CDS Global Cloud, Cemware, Chetu Inc., China Unicom, Cloud Raxak, CloudBerry (Media Sponsor), Cloudbric, Coalfire Systems, CollabNet, Inc. (Silver Sponsor), Column Technologies, Commvault (Bronze Sponsor), Connect2.me, ContentMX (Bronze Sponsor), CrowdReviews (Media Sponsor) CyberTrend (Media Sponsor), DataCenterDynamics (Media Sponsor), Delaplex, DICE (Bronze Sponsor), EastBanc Technologies, eCube Systems, Embotics, Enzu Inc., Ericsson (Gold Sponsor), FalconStor, Formation Data Systems, Fusion, Hanu Software, HGST, Inc. (Bronze Sponsor), Hitrons Solutions, IBM BlueBox, IBM Bluemix, IBM Cloud (Platinum Sponsor), IBM Cloud Data Services/Cloudant (Platinum Sponsor), IBM DevOps (Platinum Sponsor), iDevices, Industrial Internet of Things Consortium (Association Sponsor), Impinger Technologies, Interface Masters, Intel (Keynote Sponsor), Interoute (Bronze Sponsor), IQP Corporation, Isomorphic Software, Japan IoT Consortium, Kintone Corporation (Bronze Sponsor), LeaseWeb USA, LinearHub, MangoApps, MathFreeOn, Men & Mice, MobiDev, New Relic, Inc. (Bronze Sponsor), New York Times, Niagara Networks, Numerex, NVIDIA Corporation (AI Session Sponsor), Object Management Group (Association Sponsor), On The Avenue Marketing, Oracle MySQL, Peak10, Inc., Penta Security, Plasma Corporation, Pulzze Systems, Pythian (Bronze Sponsor), Cosmos, RackN, ReadyTalk (Silver Sponsor), Roma Software, Roundee.io, Secure Channels Inc., SD Times (Media Sponsor), SoftLayer (Platinum Sponsor), SoftNet Solutions, Solinea Inc., SpeedyCloud, SSLGURU LLC, StarNet, Stratoscale, Streamliner, SuperAdmins, TechTarget (Media Sponsor), TelecomReseller (Media Sponsor), Tintri (Welcome Reception Sponsor), TMCnet (Media Sponsor), Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium, Veeam, Venafi, Violin Memory, VAI Software, Zerto

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

Cloud Expo®, Big Data Expo® and @ThingsExpo® are registered trademarks of Cloud Expo, Inc., a SYS-CON Events company.

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.