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7 Posts authored by: charlierussell

The excitement is building toward the "The Great American Eclipse" coming August 21, 2017 to the United States. It’s the first time in almost 100 years that a total solar eclipse will be visible from coast to coast, and the first time in 38 years that one has been visible anywhere in the contiguous United States.

 

It's also the first U.S. total eclipse in the age of the Internet and live streaming, with NASA planning exciting live streaming of the event. With counterfeit eclipse glasses already found on the market, live streaming is the safest and coolest way to view the eclipse.  

Countdown to the eclipse on the NASA website.

Watch the live stream on August 21 on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. 

NASA's Eyes to watch animated previews of the eclipse.

 

Eclipse path on the earth

 

Path of Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017. Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

 

What is an eclipse? An eclipse is a periodic alignment of the sun, earth and moon. In a solar eclipse, the moon moves between the sun and the viewer for a short time, obscuring part or all of the sun from view. A Total Solar Eclipse happens when the moon completely covers the sun. Here, the observer is standing under the umbral shadow of the moon. In a total solar eclipse, the sun’s outer atmosphere can be seen.

 

Sun earth eclipse

Solar Eclipse (visualization). Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio 

  

 

 

Rule Number One: Protect Your Eyes

Whatever you do, never look directly at the sun. You can suffer permanent eye damage or blindness. However, there are several ways, two old and one new, to safely observe a solar eclipse.

 

Three ways to safely observe the eclipse.

1. Pinhole projector or other projection method, producing a miniaturized view on paper. 

2. Certified protective eclipse glasses from a reputable vendor. 

3. Live streaming from NASA, or other video sources. See detail below.

 

Caution: counterfeit eclipse glasses could damage your eyes. According to Time,  Amazon is giving refunds to customers who have purchased potentially counterfeit solar eclipse glasses, which could lead to eye damage in people who wear them while looking directly at the sun.


NASA Recommends:

Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.

 

Note: the Reputable Vendors page currently states:

"It may be too late to buy solar viewers in time for August 21st. Most vendors are sold out!"

 

  

Live Streaming: 100% Safe, 100% Cool

NASA will be delivery live video streams of the August 21 total solar eclipse, from NASA Television and locations across the country, on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. Viewers around the world will be provided a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse.

 

Eclipse corona

Total eclipse image taken Mar. 20, 2015 at Svalbard, Norway. Credit: S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol

 

Official NASA broadcast locations for the total solar eclipse include:

  • International Space Station
  • 50+ High Altitude Balloon Teams Across Path of Totality
  • Gulfstream III Aircraft
  • State Fair Grounds/Oregon Museum of Science - Salem, OR
  • Exploratorium - Madras, OR
  • Museum of Idaho – Idaho Falls, ID
  • Exploratorium – Casper, WY
  • Homestead National Monument of America – Beatrice, NE
  • State Capitol – Jefferson City, MO
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville – Carbondale, IL
  • Summer Salute Festival – Hopkinsville, KY
  • Austin Peay State University – Clarksville, TN
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park – NC
  • College of Charleston – Charleston, SC
  • Coast Guard Ship – Atlantic Ocean

 

Here's the link that will stream the eclipse: NASA Eclipse 2017 Live  

 

In addition, for research purposes, NASA will chase the eclipse to capture high-resolution, high-speed photographs from two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes in the stratosphere. At the planes’ cruising altitude of 50,000 feet, the sky is 20-30 times darker than as seen from the ground, and there is much less atmospheric turbulence, allowing fine structures and motions in the Sun’s corona to be visible.

 

NASA planes observing eclipse

NASA aircraft chasing the eclipse (photo illustration). Credits: NASA/Faroe Islands/SwRI

 

 

So mark your calendars and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event!

Countdown to the eclipse on the NASA website.

Watch the live stream on August 21 on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. 

NASA's Eyes to watch animated previews of the eclipse.

Today we’re taking a peek at Control, Limelight’s self-service portal, to see recent features and enhancements.

 

If your company delivers online content — streaming video, rich web pages, games, file downloads, e-commerce and more — you know or use Limelight. Limelight is a leader in content delivery, with a track record of high performance and availability on a global scale.

 

Limelight Control gives customers secure, 24x7 access to the Limelight Orchestrate Platform. Customers can monitor their content delivery, order and configure services, manage content, analyze usage, and access online support.

 

Here’s the latest in Limelight Control.

Easy Setup of Backup Origin

Origin storage, the content source for delivery networks, can become the critical path on cache miss. But if the content isn’t found in origin storage, it’s time for the dreaded 404 error. You can solve that problem by configuring a backup origin.

 

Limelight Control lets users define a backup origin when creating or editing a configuration. Users now see an additional field in the Failover section of a configuration screen, which can request content from an alternative backup origin host and base URL path on 404 error. This feature is necessary when Intelligent Ingest is enabled and its rules need to locate backup content on a specific origin path while insuring that the cache key is preserved. The field accepts both HTTP & HTTPS hostnames.

 

 

Referer Blocking and Whitelisting

For additional content security, customers can now either block (blacklist) or allow (whitelist) requests from specified domains. The new Referer Blocking capability is available in Content Security configurations for Static Content, Websites & Apps, and HTTP Chunked Streaming.

 

 

Better Management of “Do Not Cache”

A new “Do Not Cache” option in Caching Rules provides finer control over content caching behavior. This option can be applied individually to chunks and manifests for a Chunked Streaming configuration.

 

 

Origin Storage: Faster Provisioning, and Configuring Intelligent Ingest

A new and improved Users section in Origin Storage (Cloud Storage) allows for much faster provisioning in Control. In addition, a new set of tools streamlines to configuration of Intelligent Ingest.

 

Intelligent Ingest automates migration of content to Limelight Origin Storage, which offers dramatically better performance and availability than ordinary storage solutions. The new Intelligent Ingest configuration page provides summary information at the top, including Status (Active, Inactive or Disabled), Storage Quota (if quota is set; % and total
disk usage), Bandwidth (the ingest bandwidth limit for the remote hosts) and Threads (the number of request threads running on the remote hosts). A list of existing Intelligent Ingest rules appears below the summary. For each rule, the content paths for both Origin Storage and the remote host are shown.

 

New Traffic Report (beta)

A redesigned Traffic report beta is now available to company admins (access to users coming soon). The new report focuses on analytics rather than plain reporting – the data visualizations are multidimensional and interactive. The modernized interface simplifies navigation and consolidates multiple reports into a tabbed workflow that drives insight while saving clicks. Users can view their data across multiple accounts (shortnames), and drill into nested information within the main visualization. All data is now sourced from our leading real-time analytics platform – EdgeQuery. It also features a fresh new look and feel.

 

 

Administrator Control of User Access to Segments

Company administrators have a new option for user reports permissions called “Realtime Data Segments”. Admins can control user access to data segments via these settings.

 

 

Bonus: Managing Data Segments via API

A Data Segment (previously known as a Custom View) is a filtered view of report data in Control, for use cases such as analyzing traffic for specific content. Now, customers that use API control can access and manage Data Segments via the Reporting API (Application Programming Interface) just like any master segment.

 

Try It For Yourself!

If you’re a Limelight customer, take these new features out for a spin. Log in with your username and password at Limelight Control customer portal.

 

If you’re not yet a Limelight customer, request a free trial.

If you're delivering online video, websites, file downloads, games or e-commerce, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. Investigate 7 keys to a critical component of your online content: its digital source. As vital as this digital source is, many organizations don't fully understand it, and many take it for granted -- at their own peril.

 

 

Examination at the Source

Today's online audience expects instant response -- and they'll go elsewhere if they don't get it. Knowing this, you may already be using or considering a content delivery network (CDN). But you probably know far less about the source that feeds the CDN: origin storage. Learning more can make a big difference.   

 

 

 

 

Done wrong, CDN origin storage can waste valuable resources, time, effort and money -- only to deliver bad user experience -- and you might not even know it. 

 

Done right, CDN origin storage doesn’t take a lot of your team’s time and resources, dramatically improves user experience, and can even save you money.

 

 

Want to learn more? 

 

7 Qualities that are Revolutionizing CDN Origin Storage + "Ask the Expert"
 Choose a video:

 

Watch free video -- Americas version (from USA) 

Kyle Carpenter, Americas Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Watch free video -- EMEA version (from Europe) 

Kerrion Burton Evans, EMEA Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Both videos feature:

  • What CDN origin storage is, and why you should care about it
  • 7 qualities that are revolutionizing CDN origin storage
  • Just released capabilities in Limelight Origin Storage that make it a game-changer for your team, your audience and your bottom line
  • How Limelight’s high-performance Origin Storage is able to deliver 92-200 percent faster than cloud storage solutions*
  • "Ask the Expert" session

 

For more information, you can also explore CDN Origin Storage on Limelight's website. 

I invite you to learn more about a hidden gem of digital content delivery.

 

Two free sessions, May 18 from Europe and May 24 from the Americas. Includes access to recordings.

                 

 

If you're delivering online video, audio, files, websites, games or e-commerce, you're probably using a content delivery network (CDN). If you're not using a CDN yet, you probably will. Today's online audience expects nothing less than instant response, and they'll go elsewhere if they don't get it.  

 

In this free webinar and "Ask-the-Expert" Q&A session, we'll explore a less-well-understood yet critical component of CDNs. It's called origin storage, and it's where you store the content that feeds your delivery system. I know it sounds simple, but there's more to it than meets the eye.   


Done wrong, CDN origin storage can waste valuable resources, time, effort and money -- only to deliver bad user experience -- and you might not even know it. 

Done right, CDN origin storage doesn’t take a lot of your team’s time and resources, dramatically improves user experience, and can even save you money.

You owe it to yourself to learn about this hidden gem!

 

We're planning to pack tons of information into 30 minutes or less, then open up the floor to your questions. We trust you'll find it useful and informative, and invite you to join us for either session. You'll get access to both the live webinar and the recording, plus extra information for free download.

 

 

Free Registration
7 Qualities that are Revolutionizing CDN Origin Storage + "Ask the Expert"
Please choose a session:

 

Thurs May 18 

From Europe

13:00 GMT = 9:00 AM EST = 22:00 JST/KST

Kerrion Burton Evans, EMEA Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

Wed May 24 

From Americas

11:00 AM PST = 2:00 PM EST = 18:00 GM

Kyle Carpenter, Americas Sales Engineer 

Charlie Russell, Senior Product Marketing Manager 

 

During each session, we will explore:

  • What CDN origin storage is, and why you should care about it
  • 7 qualities that are revolutionizing CDN origin storage
  • Just released capabilities in Limelight Origin Storage that make it a game-changer for your team, your audience and your bottom line
  • How Limelight’s high-performance Origin Storage is able to deliver 92-200 percent faster than cloud storage solutions*
  • "Ask the Expert" session

 

 

I hope you can join us! More information here:

 

Two free sessions, May 18 from Europe and May 24 from the Americas. Includes access to recordings.

 

 

Charlie Russell

 

This week, Limelight announced updates and new capabilities for its industry-leading origin storage solution for CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) -- including 25GB of free storage for new customers and many existing customers.  Let’s drill down on some of Limelight’s announcements.

 

Focus on CDN Origin Storage

Companies that deliver great user experience understand the value of origin storage – whether it’s for video-on-demand, file distribution, web acceleration, gaming or e-commerce. Origin storage is where content delivery networks (CDNs) go to retrieve files that aren’t in edge cache. Some have tried using ordinary general-purpose cloud storage as their origin storage, but with mixed results. The user experience can be unpredictable, and too often underwhelming. And the time and resource burdens on the company can be significant, whether it’s manual management, or custom-developing CDN-specific features. 

 

Limelight has a better way, offering a rich CDN origin storage solution as a service. With high-performance storage sites around the world, collocated with edge cache devices and egress to ISP’s, interconnected by a high-speed private fiber network, Limelight Origin Storage Services is one of the largest, fastest cloud storage solutions in the world.

 

And it’s the best at one thing: delivering content.

 

To reflect this focus, Limelight Cloud Storage Services have now been renamed Limelight Origin Storage Services.  The new name sharpens the focus and value on content delivery, where origin storage plays such a critical role.

 

Now let’s look at the groundbreaking new feature set just announced.

 

 

Listen to Your Customers, Then Please Them – All Automatically

If you’re a company with content to deliver, it’s a critical question: What content does your audience value? And wouldn’t it be great if you could automatically accelerate the exact content your audience values? Not by analyzing historical data, not with time-consuming polls, not by guesswork – but completely automatically.

 

That’s exactly what Limelight’s unique new Intelligent Ingest does in Load On Demand mode. Each time a user requests content that isn’t in the CDN, it’s automatically retrieved from current origin and delivered – and also stored in Limelight Origin Storage for future requests. You have controls like the ability to specify maximum concurrency and bandwidth. Other than that, set it and forget it – audience popularity determines which content migrates to accelerated Origin Storage.

 

The other mode of Intelligent Ingest, Manifest Upload mode, automates upload based on a list of content you provide. You can migrate all your content, or just selected portion of it, with control over total migration time and rate of ingest up to 10 TB/day.

 

Consistently Deliver Industry-Best Performance

Limelight Origin Storage is a distributed object-based storage system, which is tightly integrated with the Limelight private CDN and optimized for superior content delivery. From January 1 to March 23, 2017, public data from independent real user measurement solution Cedexis shows Limelight Origin Storage is 92 percent faster on average than cloud storage offerings. Internal Limelight testing has shown performance improvements of up to 200 percent for specific customer workflows.

 

Automatic High Availability at No Extra Charge

Recently, an estimated 150,000 websites, applications, and business-critical software stopped working properly for several hours. The impact was significant in lost dollars, lost audience trust, and more. The problem was caused by a network service outage in one regional location, yet it had massive global impact. Why? Lack of multi-regional redundancy with the ability to fail over on retrieval.

 

Limelight ensures high availability -- and high performance -- in two critical ways, automatically.

 

Automatic Replication. On ingest, at no extra cost, Limelight automatically creates multiple redundant copies close to your audience. Just choose from a menu of regional policies based on where your audience is located.

 

Automatic Best-Site Retrieval with Failover. On retrieval, Limelight automatically fetches from the fastest site, and redirects from slow or offline sites without the user even knowing anything is amiss. Ordinary cloud storage services don’t offer such automation.

 

Exceptional Multi-CDN Performance

Increasingly, companies are using multiple CDNs to deliver their content. Limelight’s unique globally connected approach gives multi-CDN customers exceptional Origin Storage performance, availability and automated workflow for all their CDNs. Customers don’t just get fast distributed storage; they get the full benefit of Limelight’s’ global private-fiber CDN to transport the content for handoff to the selected CDN. It’s ideal as the primary or backup origin for any delivery service or CDN.

 

Experience the Benefits Yourself

And so, the best just got better. With Limelight Origin Storage Services and new Intelligent Ingest, you can easily add new content, monitor usage, manage the lifecycle, and deliver an exceptional customer experience every time.

 

To encourage everyone to experience the benefits of Limelight Origin Storage Services, Limelight is now offering 25GB of free storage to all new customers and current Content Delivery customers who do not currently use Limelight storage. More details are available at the Limelight Origin Storage web page.

Our digital lives increasingly depend not just on our devices, but on the networks and cloud services behind the scenes. People use and enjoy these services and take them for granted -- until there’s a disruption. When outages occur and people feel the impact, the failure of technology takes center stage. With recent attention to high-impact outages, let’s take a moment to talk about the topic, and how companies can easily protect themselves.

 

What happens with outages and their impacts?

There are two answers to this question. One answer doesn’t matter; the other answer makes all the difference.

 

It doesn’t matter what caused any particular outage. Outages happen. Network outages have been caused by equipment problems, power failures, human error, weather, fire, vandalism and squirrels. It’s inevitable that outages will continue to happen.

 

What does matter is that it’s easy to dramatically reduce or prevent the negative user impact. In one recent case for example, a network service outage occurred in one regional location, yet it had massive global impact. Why? Lack of multi-regional redundancy. The service provider didn’t offer an easy, cost-effective option to replicate data to multiple regions. The websites that eventually suffered relied on one service site with no failover. When that one site went down, the websites failed to deliver for an extended period of time.

 

No Extra Cost: Buttons, Belt, and Suspenders

Limelight is leading the way in protecting digital companies and user experience. At no extra cost, Limelight Origin Storage Services automate redundancy on both upload and download. When companies upload content, Limelight streamlines your operations with automated replication to multiple sites. When users download the content, Limelight ensures fastest delivery with automated performance testing and failover to the fastest site. Because it’s automated, it’s easy and nearly foolproof. By contrast, some cloud storage providers charge hefty fees to replicate to different regions, and don’t offer automatic replication or failover. Unfortunately, their customers can suffer severe business impact as a result.

 

With Limelight, even if one storage site were to suffer a similar outage, users would never even know that anything was amiss. Behind the scenes, Limelight would automatically switch to another site that has the data, and deliver. 

 

For companies, setup is a simple one-time selection of policies based on where your audience is. For example, if your audience is global, you can choose a policy that replicates content to storage sites in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific. If your audience is mostly in the United States, the US policy replicates to multiple sites around the country. And yes, you can have different policies for different content libraries, and you can change policies any time.

 

In the future, whenever you upload new content, Limelight will automatically replicate it with multi-site redundancy to the regions you specified.

 

When your audience requests content that needs to be retrieved from origin storage, Limelight ensures delivery.  First, the system tests the redundant origin storage sites to see which responds fastest. Usually, the closest site wins and delivers the content. But what if the closest site is experiencing problems? Whether it’s simply slow delivery, or a regional outage, your audience will usually never know. Limelight’s system will automatically determine the fastest redundant site and deliver from there.

 

Do you have a multi-CDN strategy? Whether you use multiple Content Delivery Networks (CDN) or Limelight’s CDN, you’ll enjoy high availability, performance and automation. Limelight Origin Storage Services can be configured to act as primary or backup origin to all your CDN’s. While the best end-to-end performance will generally use the Limelight CDN, rest assured that your best practices and risk diversification are supported.

 

Finally, Limelight offers the best support in the industry with knowledgeable experts available 24/7/365. Some cloud storage providers do not offer live support, requiring customers to rely on email to address critical situations.

 

Limelight Origin Storage Services were specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of delivering digital content anywhere in the world, with the highest performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness.  Make sure you know the facts when choosing this critical component of your web infrastructure.  And most of all, be sure not to have a single point of failure.  Outages don’t need to happen to your business.

Reduce the Cost and Complexity of Your Content Delivery Workflows

 

We’re in an on-demand world. Video on demand, streaming audio, web surfing, online shopping, gaming and more – today’s digital audience wants the world on their schedule. They use a wide variety of laptops, tablets, phones, and TV-connected devices, sometimes in conjunction. Tens of billions of hours of content per month are consumed globally. And consumers want a great experience – instant response, high quality, no glitches or delays or interruptions.

 

Collectively, it’s a massive on-demand beast that must be fed.


If you’re a company delivering content, what does it mean to feed that on-demand beast?


The Delivery Network

You want to create a great experience for your audience. You’ve probably learned that the open Internet fails to deliver at scale. As a result, you may already use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), to accelerate delivery to your audience. One of the important advantages of a CDN is that it uses edge cache to temporarily store many copies of popular content at many sites around the edges of the network.


Feeding the Delivery Network

But what if someone requests on-demand content that isn’t stored in the edge cache? In fact, this happens millions of times per day. Edge cache generally contains popular on-demand content – hit movies and videos, new software downloads, new hit songs, popular items on web stores, images and animations from top web pages, and so on.


In practice, the majority of a typical company’s content library isn’t stored in the edge cache. It’s stored on one or more file servers or video servers – origin servers. When a user requests an asset that isn’t in the edge cache, the network needs to retrieve it from origin storage.


The DINAS of Feeding the Delivery Network

How quickly and reliably can you fetch content from origin storage? It depends. Here are some factors that can make a dramatic difference in user experience – I call them the DINAS:

 

1. Distance from the user 
The earth is a big place. If your origin storage is halfway around world from the user, one-way delay could be 300 milliseconds or more – each way. That means the user waits over a half-second just for request and retrieval from origin. You can deliver a much better response time if you have multiple origins in multiple regions, located close to where your users are.


2. Integration with the delivery network
Traffic flow is hampered if it has to traverse different networks, locations and links between the origin and the delivery network. You can streamline and accelerate traffic flow if the origin storage is tightly integrated with the delivery network, especially if it’s collocated in the same sites as edge devices.

 

3. Network from the origin to the user
The open internet has many experience-impacting obstacles. It’s subject to link congestion, node congestion, rerouting, timeouts, retransmissions, and other issues. And of course, the farther your content must travel over the open Internet, the more issues it can face. The good news is you can bypass this with a high-bandwidth private fiber network.

 

4. Availability
There’s simply no way to deliver content if it isn’t available in the first place. Outages can be caused by hard drive failures, network device issues, local power failures, regional network issues, general network congestion, and more. You can ensure availability with redundant origin servers in multiple sites. That way, even if there are issues in one origin site or one network region, the network can fetch the asset from somewhere else.

 

5. Software intelligence
If you have intelligent software that can automatically choose the fastest origin for each user session, you’ll consistently deliver the best possible response.


Feeding the Feeder

Uploading content into your origin storage, and replicating it for multiple regions, can cost significant resources, time, effort, and money. If you have to do numerous manual operations, or develop custom code, or spend time on asset tracking and management, you’ll be inefficient and burn up your money, and burn out your people.


Extra fees are another way to burn through budgets. Low cost storage-at-rest can be tempting, but extra fees can dwarf the cost of basic storage. Depending on your vendor, extra hidden costs can include fees for uploading content, copying it to multiple sites, moving it, retrieving it, transferring it to your delivery network, even requesting a directory list.

 

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re delivering video-on-demand, over-the-top (OTT) video, file distribution, gaming, web acceleration, e-commerce, or other content, your origin storage is more important than you may realize.


The optimal choice for origin storage is likely to be designed specifically for content delivery. Flexible workflow will make your job easier. Automated replication to multiple sites ensures delivery wherever your users are located. High speed design and integration with the delivery network will give your users fast response and consistently high quality. Intelligent software will serve content from the fastest site so you delight your audience on a global scale. And of course, you’ll want to deliver great user experience on budget, without hidden fees.


And that’s how you feed the on-demand beast.