End-User Mapping: Next Generation Request Routing for Content Delivery

Fangfei Chen, Ramesh K. Sitaraman, Marcelo Torres
Appears in: 
CCR August 2015

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) deliver much of the world's web, video, and application content on the Internet today. A key component of a CDN is the mapping system that uses the DNS protocol to route each client's request to a "proximal" server that serves the requested content. While traditional mapping systems identify a client using the IP of its name server, we describe our experience in building and rollingout a novel system called end-user mapping that identifies the client directly by using a prefix of the client's IP address. Using measurements from Akamai's production network during the roll-out, we show that end-user mapping provides significant performance benefits for clients who use public resolvers, including an eight-fold decrease in mapping distance, a two-fold decrease in RTT and content download time, and a 30% improvement in the time-to-first-byte. We also quantify the scaling challenges in implementing enduser mapping such as the 8-fold increase in DNS queries. Finally, we show that a CDN with a larger number of deployment locations is likely to benefit more from end-user mapping than a CDN with a smaller number of deployments.