Life Time

With more than 165 athletic clubs in the US and Canada and an expanding network of Life Time Work and Life Time Living communities, Life Time equips its 1.4 million members (and growing!) to pursue mind, body, social, family, and community health. Customer experience is everything for Life Time: premium services in premium locations, delivered by the best people, equipment, and technology.
Industry: Ecommerce, Retail
Location: North America
Customer since: 2015

Favorite features
Fastly API
Next-Gen WAF
Fastly CDN
Enterprise support

Premium lifestyle brand, Life Time, supports commitment to deliver exceptional experiences for members and developers with Fastly Edge Cloud Platform

The opportunity

In place since the ‘90s, Life Time’s former CDN was not keeping pace with the company’s rapid evolution. Delivering new videos, experiences and interactive schedules for thousands of classes on Life Time's website required additional speed and efficiency. Purging the cache for its website used to take 10 to 15 minutes, and developer deployments had to take place on the previous CDN’s schedule. With the goal of a solution that would enhance user experiences on the front end and provide a more agile development experience on the back end, Life Time turned to Fastly.

The solution

Transitioning to Fastly CDN provided Life Time with the advantages needed to seamlessly offer optimized service and experiences to its members, without interruption. "The Life Time app experience is now snappy," said Marc Gillitzer, Senior Director of Technology at Life Time. "Members and prospective members alike will be delighted by the speed they experience on our public website and mobile app." The Fastly API gives Life Time's developers direct control over traffic, caching, and deployments, eliminating the need to wait for vendor actions or approvals.

Even better, Fastly Next-Gen WAF empowers Life Time's security team to work side by side with the development team to observe traffic, examine code, uncover potential attacks, and block malicious actors. With security and development integrated and using the same interface, the time to prevent or remediate threats is significantly reduced. As a partner, Fastly also provides proactive support, innovative capabilities, and responsive communication. "Fastly brings us a genuine, first-class relationship with people who are continually seeking ways to help." said Gillitzer.

Near-instant cache purge pleases users and liberates developers

"We have a lot of rich content on our site," Gillitzer said. "With Fastly, we’re able to deliver an experience that aligns with our high expectations and brand." The switch to Fastly's CDN was dramatic: Cache purge time was cut from over 10 minutes to less than a second anywhere in the world. "We've got a 90% cache hit ratio and 97% cache covered, so when we're serving up content, it's fast," Gillitzer said. "Our mobile app has five stars, and some of that is clearly attributable to our fast response times." More recently, Life Time has been experimenting with moving elements of the site to Compute, Fastly's advanced serverless platform, which allows the company to scale traffic with zero impact on latency.

That 99.9% improvement in purge time not only ensures a great user experience, but affords Life Time’s developers the freedom to iterate quickly. The ability to integrate the deploying and purging of cache into the CI/CD pipeline creates a vastly superior development experience. Plus, access to the Fastly API eliminates the need for Life Time developers to coordinate their purge plans with their CDN vendor.

Sophisticated Next-Gen WAF keeps pace with business

As Life Time traffic has grown, so too has its security needs. For example, expanding internationally has made Life Time realize the need to fine-tune the way it identifies and blocks potentially malicious traffic.

Unlike a legacy, rules-based WAF, the Fastly Next-Gen WAF enables visibility and protection based on more granular variables, such as the header or the user agent string. "The signals-based technology of the Next-Gen WAF lets us do more targeted blocking rather than blocking entire content types or countries," Gillitzer said. Because development and security teams are using the same tools, it makes it easier for them to work together to build a better product. "Getting developers and security engineers working together in the same UI greatly simplifies things when we're going to roll out an app, so we can see the behavior and make adjustments. This has been a really significant improvement for us," said Gillitzer.


From the first days of implementing Fastly's CDN, Gillitzer appreciated how seamless it was to work with Fastly. "Making the transition to Fastly was easy and effortless for our development and platform engineering teams," Gillitzer said. "And that same, great experience continues today."

A key way Fastly sets itself apart from other vendors is to come forward with help and ideas before Life Time even has to ask. That's true for security issues—like when Fastly alerts Life Time to a traffic spike suggesting a DDoS attack—or issues with the Fastly platform. "With other vendors, if there is an outage I’ve had to seek them out at times and ask for a root cause analysis, but Fastly comes forward proactively," Gillitzer said.

What's been most important for Life Time is knowing they can count on Fastly to keep looking for ways to make Life Time's business better. "We are always maturing, always modernizing at Life Time, and it's exciting to work with a company like Fastly that's also innovating. It's really exciting because we're growing together. This is what makes a great partnership," Gillitzer said. Being able to trust Fastly as a partner enables Life Time to experience new technologies, like edge computing, without worrying about infrastructure or scaling. "Those pieces are solved for us," Gillitzer said, "so we can focus on the code and the service we're trying to build."

Key takeaway

"Fastly has been fantastic for allowing our development teams to control their own destiny, and our members are getting a premium experience. Our account exec is always there for us, asking us what we need. It's not merely about selling us on the next thing; it's about finding out where we want to go with our business and how Fastly can support getting us there." Gillitzer concluded.

Life Time's relationship with Fastly illustrates the value of having a true partner who is committed to your success. A strong partnership accelerates product delivery by providing the freedom to innovate, access to advanced technologies, and the security of knowing someone has your back.

"Fastly is like being on an expressway. Once you get onto their CDN and put a service out there, if you literally do nothing else—even caching—you already see significant drops in latency just from being on their network."

Marc Gillitzer
Senior Director of Technology

"By using the Fastly Edge Cloud platform, our teams can work together so everybody is going to build a better product. All the way through, we have clear observability and great performance, and we secure that application for the end user."

Marc Gillitzer
Senior Director of Technology

"Our relationship with Fastly helps ensure that our members have a premium experience—all the way from the client and caching to secure delivery."

Marc Gillitzer
Senior Director of Technology

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