Limelight customers can benefit from the speed of self-service and the customized power of using rules to accomplish specialized tasks at the network edge.
Limelight supports a large number of standard configurations for Web Site and App Acceleration content, and most times this allows customers to tailor the delivery of content to their specific needs. But sometimes, more powerful customer-specific logic is needed to be successful. At Limelight, this is accomplished via what we refer to as Rules at the Edge.
The primary benefit of using Rules at the Edge is being able to apply logic at the edge in support of a diverse set of business use cases. Rules provide an enterprise customer the ability to offload complex data manipulation or enrichment tasks to Limelight edge servers, saving them from having to do it as part of their website infrastructure. What’s done with those rules is customer-specific.
In June, Limelight released new support for configuration of Web Site and App Acceleration services, including a feature called Rules at the Edge. Customers who use self-service configuration benefit from maintaining full control over the process and seeing their changes implemented in our global the network of edge servers in less than 30 minutes.
Examples of Using Rules at the Edge
If you are a web developer or are responsible for configuring your website properties, the following information should help you to understand the direct impact of Rules at the Edge. Let’s look at a few ‘real world’ examples of how our customers use rules.
- Doing GEO lookups and using the results: Through basic configuration and a feature we call IP Access Control, customers can whitelist or blacklist requests based on the geography of the requester. Sometimes, however, a customer wants to use the GEO information to accomplish more than simply allowing or blocking requests. This is where rules can be helpful. For example, say you had a global logistics company that had different content to display based on the country of the requester. Rather than directing the user to some landing page and requiring them to choose a country first, rules can be used to look up the country of the requester and return content specific to that country.
- Working with Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) headers: CORS headers are used to manage and control what content can be sourced cross-origin. Rules at the edge can view the origin specified in a request and, for example, look this up dynamically against a list of ‘approved’ origins. If allowed, the response can contain an allow_origin value of that origin and if not on the approved list it can allow it but redirect the allow_origin header value to a different destination. All of this means rules at the edge can provide custom logic run at the edge to set allow or deny values in CORS headers.
- Manipulating cache keys to optimize content delivery: Using rules to manipulate cache keys can reduce the number of copies of content the edge may need to hold, at the same time increasing cache efficiency, reducing storage requirements, and reducing the amount of traffic back to a customer’s origin. For example, let’s say a family of e-commerce sites are all selling the same item with associated photo and video content. Rules at the edge can be used to translate a series of requests, say for mystore.com/object and thestore.com/object bigstore.com/object, making these requests all point to the same single object regardless of which of many domains are requested.
- Setting content expiration: Sometimes rules are used to assist a customer with managing the expiration times of content. Rules can be used by the edge server to insert a content Time to Live (TTL) value for the content so that this does not have to be managed by the customer or at origin.
- Controlling whether or not cached content should be returned: An example of this would be using rules to override the fact that normally if cookies are associated with a request you might assume the content was dynamic and needed to come from origin. But in some cases you wish to pull the object from cache regardless of the presence of a cookie.
These are just some of the many possible uses for rules. With the use of a lightweight and efficient scripting language deployed on edge servers, many things are possible. If you think you may benefit from Rules at the Edge, or want more information on types of rules that can be created, please contact your Limelight Account Manager or Solutions Engineer.