What is Fastly and why has it caused the internet to crash?
The digital apocalypse must be very similar to what we have experienced today. A general blackout from many of the main websites in the world, from newspapers like The New York Times to electronic stores such as Amazon, through Twitch, Vimeo, Reddit, Shopify or CNN. A chaos that has a single culprit, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) called Fastly.
CDNs are geographically distributed server networks that help different web pages to deliver their content anywhere in the world in a fast and secure way. Many of the pages we browse on a daily basis are located in a single physical place, so to access them, everything they contain has to travel from their server to our device, and the further they are from each other. , the longer the load time and the worse the user experience.
The role of CDNs like Fastly is precisely that this does not happen. For it, They replicate their clients’ websites or some of their static content, such as the design or images, on several geographically distributed servers so that the person can access the page from the one closest to them., in such a way that the loading speed is considerably reduced. In addition, they also play an important backup role, since if a server fails, they connect with another that continues to function, in such a way that neither access nor page loading speed is affected.
However, when it is the architecture that supports you that falls, the problem is enormous, because not only one page stops working, but all those that are in the CDN network, which is what happened today with Fastly. A problem that is not usually common and that, due to the number of affected pages and the time that they have been inoperative, shows a relatively serious failure in the infrastructure. Fastly, at the moment, has not explained what the failure has been due to.
A single CDN for the internet
Fastly’s downfall has revealed that Reliance on a single provider at a key telecommunications point can be critical if it fails on a massive scale. Regardless of the servers on which these websites were hosted – their own, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or others – all have stopped working because Fastly has crashed.
Particularly striking has been the case of Amazon, whose different websites have been affected by the crash of Fastly when AWS has its own CDN, Amazon Cloudfront. But those of Jeff Bezos seem to not use the service they market for their own websites.