In the first blog post comparing legacy CDNs and edge platforms, we talked about their main differences and characteristics and the advantages and importance of edge platforms in the universe of content distribution. And as we've seen, using an edge platform brings so many benefits that in this blog post we'll show you how it benefits all industry sectors in practice and all the agents involved in the process: DevOps, businesses and users.
The World Is Growing Even More Connected
The COVID-19 pandemic came to shake our certainties, to show us that what we take for granted can be drastically changed overnight. And one of the most impactful things it has done is to transform online customer behavior, which will undoubtedly never be the same again. What they look for, how they look for it, what they buy, when they buy and what they expect from the experiences, everything has changed! And let's face it, to a more demanding level than ever before.
What was the result of this? Remote work, new entertainment habits, and the massive growth of internet-connected devices have accelerated and extended the digital transformation to every aspect of business and our lives. But despite the shock, it is human nature to adapt to new scenarios and habits.
Therefore, the companies that most quickly adapt to these changes and offer what customers expect in terms of online experience, products and services, will certainly be the ones that will grow stronger and gain even more space and loyal customers – if this hasn't been your case yet, you will see here that it's still possible to change your situation.
According to Euromonitor International's Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2021 report, companies must more than ever be aware of changes in customers' values and behavior and must prioritize and reinforce their demands.
We have selected here some of the main trends that apply to businesses of all sectors:
- Craving convenience: There is great pressure for companies to quickly adapt their operations, developing a more resilient customer experience while preserving convenience levels, maintaining agility and continuity of the purchase journey across all channels.
- Playing with time: in the era of immediacy, time has become a commodity and has never been so valued. Companies must propose solutions that meet the customers' desire to optimize their time, offering greater flexibility, especially with regard to products and services accessible from the customer's home or nearby.
- Safety obsessed: the fear of contagion has encouraged customers to seek solutions that don't require physical contact in order to avoid exposure. Furthermore, there's a huge concern about data theft in the online environment. Companies must implement strict biological and digital security measures aimed at mitigating customers' concerns.
- Thoughtful Thrifters: customers are more cautious and moderate with their finances, so they seek to obtain the best cost-benefit and prioritize value-added products and services. Companies must make value propositions, offering affordable options without reducing quality.
As you can see, flawless experiences, time savings, value-added products and security are must-haves for today's customers and the least companies should offer.
To overcome these challenges, companies have to take a series of measures that will directly impact their success, and one of them is to use technologies that will help to face and even eliminate these problems. One of the technological solutions that undoubtedly makes the difference in offering the best experiences in the online world is an edge platform, a fundamental part of our indispensable internet.
Azion Edge Platform: The Best and Most Modern Content Delivery Solution
Azion is an innovative company and is always attentive to market trends to serve its customers in the best way possible. That's why one of our primary focuses is to add value to your product or service with a series of features that optimize all the steps involved in the content distribution process and benefit all agents who participate in the process.
Azion's Edge Platform is full-stack, open, extensible and programmable, simplifying and streamlining the way you build software. Its edge computing technology is scalable, meaning Azion is responsible for the maintenance and administration of the infrastructure, dynamically allocating resources to meet the needs and demands of customers.
Furthermore, its architecture is decentralized and distributed, which makes it offer lower latency, more reliability and high scalability compared to legacy CDNs and even cloud computing solutions. It also allows for real-time data processing, which is critical for time-sensitive applications in critical areas. The sum of these factors reflects in a better performance, with a lower operating cost. And with over 65 global edge locations, you can orchestrate development across multi-cloud, on-premise or on remote devices.
Those who choose Azion's Edge Platform create a great competitive advantage and have numerous benefits. Just to give you an idea, some of them are:
- High availability for content and application delivery
- Very low latency
- Drastically reduced loading time
- Bandwidth savings
- Much more effective security
- Full observability
- Reduced operating costs
- Happy DevOps and Customers
The Benefits for DevOps
An important point to highlight is the improvement that the modern Azion Edge Platform brings to the life of DevOps, who are there daily working behind the scenes and suffering directly from legacy systems. Furthermore, if it wasn't for them, businesses would have no products to offer and end users would have nothing to use or purchase.
The benefits are numerous, but some of them are:
- Observability: Most traditional CDNs don't provide DevOps with real-time observability, which makes it difficult to monitor the system, user behavior, and receive feedback – and this, of course, makes these professionals' jobs difficult. An edge platform, in turn, gives DevOps a full and complete view of the system in real time.
- Control: DevOps, when working with traditional CDNs, don't have control over configuration changes, which are the responsibility of the service provider. Furthermore, even the simplest changes can take a long time to be made, as they are also put in a queue. With an edge platform, DevOps have greater management and control, as well as more agility to apply changes via the management portal or API.
- Orchestration: DevOps can deploy, manage, control, monitor and update resources on the edge in real time, without the need for provisioning, and can integrate other services.
- Automation: Using SDN (Software-Defined Networking) makes it easy to use resources, so DevOps need only be concerned with creating and executing code and workloads on the edge; no provisioning, maintenance or operational tasks.
- Serverless model: the provider runs and manages servers and all infrastructure and resources, which eliminates scalability, planning, and maintenance tasks for DevOps.
- New use cases: the edge computing infrastructure facilitates the development of projects with modern technology, such as AI, AR, VR, IoT, machine learning, data and video streaming, 5G, and much more.
In addition to the benefits presented before, Azion goes a step further by offering a simpler, faster, yet complete customer journey that makes DevOps work easier, and delivers better business results.
See how easy it is to use an edge platform from start to finish:
1ˢᵗ Step: Build
Once you start using an edge platform, you can build, develop, launch, and scale applications without restrictions. At this point, you focus on creating the applications, defining the rules and parameters. Furthermore, in this phase you will build a scalable infrastructure with edge nodes, which can be remotely configured using zero-touch provisioning.
2ⁿᵈ Step: Secure
In this step, you will define application security issues at the edge – you can choose between Web Application Firewall, DDoS Protection and Network Layer Protection or all options simultaneously – which will allow you to track malicious traffic, isolate OWASP Top 10 threats, adapt to zero-day attacks, and much more.
3ʳᵈ Step: Deliver
After creating the applications on the edge platform, it's possible to deliver them from a global network. That is, at that point, you are ready to use the network, and the content is ready to be delivered. There is also the possibility of adding all the intelligence (or part of it) of an edge platform to your own infrastructure through orchestration solutions.
4ᵗʰ Step: Observe
While an edge platform delivers content, with data analytics solutions you can see exactly what's happening on your system and how your application users behave. That's because you have access to real-time data about the entire operation, from start to finish, which even allows you to predict events and prevent incidents.
Azion is trusted by leading companies in the market. See below how the case of UniCesumar is an example of this successful partnership.
Qualified professors, exclusive teaching materials and flexible teaching methodology are some of the components that place UniCesumar as the best distance learning platform in Brazil, according to the Ministry of Education, having as a differential the concern for providing top of the line technology and building innovative solutions to enchant students.
There is a growing demand for video largely driven by 5G. It’s estimated that streaming and downloading videos will represent 82% of global Internet consumption by 2022¹. For UniCesumar, these are important scalability and performance challenges and requirements for developing a robust education platform for future generations.
Another important aspect of ensuring availability for students, staff and other stakeholders in the educational innovation ecosystem is cybersecurity. It is estimated that 60% of cyber threats target the education sector². For example, DDoS attacks increased 278% in Q1 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, and 542% compared to Q1 2018³ ⁻ ⁴.
Considering these factors, UniCesumar changed its technology strategy to implement a market- leading edge solution for delivering content that exceeded the basic requirements for this new phase for UniCesumar, which will rely increasingly on digital innovation.
After extensive research involving several suppliers, including specialists in the education market, UniCesumar entered into a partnership with Azion, providing its technology team with edge-native products and services designed to:
- accelerate content delivery;
- simplify the development of innovations;
- facilitate the creation of secure applications; and
- promote rapid and automated scalability.
With 90% of its student base focused on distance learning, the migration to Azion’s Edge Platform was decisive for Unicesumar to accelerate technological prowess, offering the best possible experience to its students, no matter where they are.
The development of edge applications to replace the old CDN services was completed in a few days and involved the implementation of the following products and modules:
- Application Acceleration: used to accelerate multiple edge applications that integrate the EAD platform;
- Edge Functions: to prevent leakage of specific content addressed to enrolled students, Unicesumar implemented authentication and authorization features for access to systems and content;
- Edge Firewall: allows the university to create advanced protection rules to expand access control in real time, contributing to the availability of the teaching platform amid complex security events; and
- Edge Caching: performs intelligent, personalized and manageable copy of didactic content on the edge, accelerating delivery performance and providing immediate speed gains, without the need for provisioning.
UniCesumar added an intermediate cache layer, Azion L2 Caching, in which content is replicated and can be made available for long periods of time, regardless of purges and caching updates. These changes maximized the performance of high-definition video delivery for students in Brazil and abroad.
UniCesumar obtained immediate gains with Azion’s Edge Application. Seventy-percent faster, the new platform has improved the user experience for students and employees. The increased efficiency in systems development – with global scale and always-on availability – enabled the team of experts to dramatically accelerate digital operations, resulting in:
- decreased infrastructure resources;
- operational simplification; and
- cost reduction.
Since the migration, UniCesumar, with the support of Azion’s Security Response Team (SRT) and intelligent algorithms, has maintained 100% availability of their platform and deflected cyber attacks without impacting their service.
With a global presence, a high standard of performance in all regions of Brazil, and over 30 edge locations in the country, Azion supported UniCesumar in enhancing consistent availability and robust scalability to bring its superior offerings to all students, including students residing abroad.
To stay alive in the online world, there's nowhere else to run: you either adopt digital transformation for good and the best technological solutions or the path to failure is just a matter of time. As failure is a word we don't like to pronounce – let alone live – the best option is to choose complete tools that will exactly meet the demands of your business, in addition to providing peace of mind and ease of use for both your DevOps and end users.
As you have seen in our success case, an edge platform plays a fundamental role in the success of companies. And when the edge platform is Azion's, the benefits and competitive advantage make all the difference.
¹ ⁻ ²Annual Internet Report (2018–2023) White Paper | Cisco
³ Global Threat Activity | Microsoft
⁴ DDoS Threat Report 2020 Q1 | Nexusguard