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Altitude SF: Tales of scale, video insights, and making the internet better for everyone

Sep 26, 2018 in Altitude

1.4 billion active monthly users, 10 billion requests per day, and 5.2 TB per second peak traffic — these are some of the staggering numbers we heard about at our 7th Altitude conference where customers, partners, and Fastlyans gathered to share experiences, exchange information and insights, and enjoy some tasty food and valuable networking. You can see all the sessions here, and here’s a few themes from the event worth highlighting.

Tales of scale

Attaining large-scale numbers takes time and insightful planning — Fastly has strategically and conscientiously grown to the 5.2 TB/second peak traffic we saw in 2018. We heard from Infura cofounder Michael Wuehler about their efforts to power decentralized blockchain application development on Ethereum, going from 20 million requests a day at the beginning of 2017 to over 10 billion requests today.

Jon Hyman, CTO of Braze — a customer engagement platform that delivers over a billion messaging experiences across push, email, apps and more each day — detailed how they moved to the cloud on their journey to impressive scale:

Streaming video insights

While having to handle issues of scale, organizations like CBS interactive (CBSi) also need to tackle the complexities of live streaming video. Here, Director of Engineering Zac Shenker describes the user experience goals they kept in mind that guided the technical decisions they made to be able to stream some of the largest video streaming events on the planet, including the Super Bowl in 2019:

If you’re still getting your arms around the complexity of video delivery, this hands-on workshop on video delivery is geared to help anyone get started delivering video at scale.

Improving the internet for everyone

A few talks hit home just how different the internet can be for people outside the US and Europe.

Inequitable internet traffic is particularly problematic in developing regions of the world, where ISPs use techniques like traffic policing to actively manage high volume flows like video streams. Policing enforces a specific flow rate by dropping excess traffic, negatively impacting video playback quality. In his talk, Yuchung Chang discussed the core design of BBR (Bottleneck Bandwidth and Round-trip propagation time) — a congestion control algorithm developed at Google — and its pragmatic approach to real-world problems like traffic policers. (You can also read about Spotify’s work with BBR.)

In an eye-opening talk about expanding our global network, Fastly VP of Infrastructure Tom Daly explores the physical datacenter infrastructure, network topology, and network policy that pose unique challenges when operating south of the equator:

Echoing themes from Fastly CTO Tyler McMullen’s talk on isolation and WebAssembly, Mozilla researcher Michael Bebenita delved into the history of WebAssembly, and explored some modern implementations that are changing the way people experience the internet. Along the way, he reassured us that WebAssembly does not mean the death of Javascript in the browser.


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Courtney Nash| Director of Content

Courtney Nash is the Director of Content Strategy at Fastly. Previously she directed editorial programming and chaired multiple conferences for O’Reilly Media, including Velocity, a key part of Fastly’s early origins. An erstwhile academic neuroscientist, she is still fascinated by the brain and how it informs our interactions with technology. She’s taught people how to dance, how the brain works, and how to catch air on a mountain bike.