Anycast-Aware Transport for Content Delivery Networks

Presented at: 18th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2009)

by Zakaria Al-Qudah, Seungjoon Lee, Michael Rabinovich, Oliver Spatscheck, Jacobus Van der Merwe


Anycast-based content delivery networks (CDNs) have many properties that make them ideal for the large scale distribution of content on the Internet. However, because routing changes can result in a change of the endpoint that terminates the TCP session, TCP session disruption remains a concern for anycast CDNs, especially for large file downloads. In this paper we demonstrate that this problem does not require any complex solutions. In particular, we present the design of a simple, yet efficient, mechanism to handle session disruptions due to endpoint changes. With our mechanism, a client can continue the download of the content from the point at which it was before the endpoint change. Furthermore, CDN servers purge the TCP connection state quickly to handle frequent switching with low system overhead. We demonstrate experimentally the effectiveness of our proposed mechanism and show that more complex mechanisms are not required. Specifically, we find that our mechanism maintains high download throughput even with a reasonably high rate of endpoint switching, which is attractive for load balancing scenarios. Moreover, our results show that edge servers can purge TCP connection state after a single timeout-triggered retransmission without any tangible impact on ongoing connections. Besides improving server performance, this behavior improves the resiliency of the CDN to certain denial of service attacks.

Keywords: Performance, Scalability and Availability

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