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Cache network extended to East Coast, Japan, Brazil and South Africa

Our new cache network reduced the volume of Inkbunny's international public content traffic by up to 86%. This was great for members on the West Coast of the U.S. or Canada, and for Australia and New Zealand; but those on the East Coast still had to hop over the pond, and most Canadians were left cold.

Well, no longer: White Wolf of Blu Paw Radio and Inkbunny donors are sponsoring caches just for you!

We're also using small caches in Brazil, Japan and South Africa to reduce latency to South America, East Asia and Southern Africa, and have improved the performance of our West Coast and Europe nodes.

Heavy-duty caches in Virginia and Quebec

We're now serving the East Coast via a LeaseWeb VPS in Manassas, VA – close to Washington, D.C. – and a sponsored cache just south of Montreal, Quebec.

The Virginia VPS has a single-core 2.4GHz Intel Xeon vCPU, 1GB RAM, and 40GB of RAID 10 storage with SSD caching; enough to store three days of page-size images and thumbnails. 4TB of monthly data transfer makes it an excellent deal: it delivered ~100GB/day over last week, at a cost of just 10¢/day.

Our Quebec cache, located in OVH's Beauharnois datacenter, has access to 250MBps of bandwidth, and is provisioned with 10GB of RAM – enough to buffer five hours of peak traffic – plus 250GB of storage on 2x2TB RAID 0 disks. It's already handled 50Mbit bursts with a single Intel Xeon W3530 2.8Ghz core.

These caches are also accessible over IPv6 – useful, as North America is running out of IPv4 addresses. Some mobile networks use translation layers (NAT64 or 464XLAT), slowing access to IPv4-only servers.

Targeted cache nodes in Tokyo, São Paulo and Johannesburg

We've expanded our mini-CDN to East Asia with a Tokyo-based cache, improving performance for Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, mainland China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

We've also sped up Inkbunny in South America, using a VPS, Amazon CloudFront and EC2 servers in São Paulo to serve Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, darkest Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

These regions each host ~3% of our visitors, so we need only modest hardware:
Japan: Single-core 2.4Ghz Xeon vCPU, 1GB RAM, 20GB SSD, 400GB/month data transfer
Brazil: 50%-core 2.6-3.4Ghz Xeon E5-2650 v2, 768MB RAM, 40GB HDD w/SSD, 500GB/month transfer
Brazil backup: 10%-core 2.5-3.3Ghz Xeon vCPU, 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD, 15GB+50GB/month transfer

As in Australia and Virginia, we expect to use around 50% of our transfer allocations for these caches, making them a good deal – especially considering the cost of data transfer in these areas.

Lastly, we've added a smaller version of the Brazil cache in Johannesburg, for furs in Southern Africa.

Routing decisions

The main dividing line for our North/Central American caches is the 96th meridian west. This means members in Kansas City, Houston, and Calgary will use our Virginia cache - while Dallas/Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Vancouver and Mexico City continue to go to Bad Dragon's Arizona server.

You'll be directed to Blu Paw's Quebec server if you're east of the 119th meridian west in Canada; we may expand this to certain parts of the USA such as Vermont, Maine, Chicago and Detroit in the near future. Quebec also handles original-sized files for those using Virginia; Arizona does the same for Brazil.

In South America, the area is set by the 2nd parallel north (south of Venezuela) and 75th meridian west. Areas to the north and west of this are likely to be served better by our Virginia or Arizona caches.

Our Johannesburg cache serves South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Maputo; other nearby networks currently connect faster to the Netherlands, although we'll be re-evaluating this in a few month's time.

As usual, if you encounter congestion or mis-detection you can select another server; but unless you see a difference, please leave it on "autodetect" – we might improve it in the future!

Conclusion

Inkbunny receives visitors worldwide, from many different countries. Hosting in one location limited our performance; but running everything through a public CDN has security implications. By building our own CDN from low-cost/sponsored virtual servers, we can serve you better while preserving your privacy.
Viewed: 1,003 times
Added: 2 years, 5 months ago
Site News Item: yes
 
Zapthechu
2 years, 5 months ago
Thanks a lot for keeping the site working as good as posible and letting us know the updates each time.
xTwoTails
2 years, 5 months ago
You mentioned Peru and I was like "I live there...."  *w*
GreenReaper
2 years, 5 months ago
Indeed! We try to provide a good service to all our members. However, we found that most Peruvian international Internet traffic goes via undersea cables and not overland to Brazil - our traces show that if you used São Paulo, you'd go via Florida (212ms), which is slower than just using Arizona (149ms).

Because of this, we excluded places such as Lima, Chimbote and Chiclayo from the São Paulo cache. In the future, overland connectivity may improve, and we will re-evaluate our choices over time.
maxinered
2 years, 5 months ago
Heh, my VPS are in Manassas too. You took the same type of server with the same specs and same datacenter as I did. Just that I do all my stuff over them and do only caching :P
But they are great for that kind of thing with 4TB/month on a 1Gb/s connection. And all for just $4.95 a month (even less when you take it for several years at once)

Good choice!
GreenReaper
2 years, 5 months ago
Yeah, we got it on sale, and for three years - just $2.94/month; less than a Big Mac! :-)
And of course LeaseWeb has a good connection to its own servers in the Netherlands.
So does OVH, for that matter - they are based in France, after all.

(Well, they were until they rolled out a hydro-powered datacenter with water-cooled servers and redundant links over the Atlantic – check out their 'weather map' [scroll right/down] to see traffic).
maxinered
2 years, 5 months ago
Got a hold of the 40% sale on servers. I would have taken that offer too, hadn't I bought those server I need right now already when my old infrastructure had to go offline. Maybe next time they have a sale :P
GreenReaper
2 years, 5 months ago
It's very tempting to buy more when they come along! Fortunately there have been good reasons to do so the last two times - they're now serving the majority of our image traffic.
Yure16
2 years, 5 months ago
Agradecemos!
Salmy
2 years, 4 months ago
El placer es nuestro! :D
ShadowUnleashed
2 years, 4 months ago
We speak Portuguese, but thanks even so ;)
Salmy
2 years, 4 months ago
Uuuuuh, o prazer e noso? x'D
ShadowUnleashed
2 years, 4 months ago
Better X3
Alfador
2 years, 5 months ago
Yay!
dahan
2 years, 5 months ago
Wow, lots of caches... very cool! :)

BTW, I notice that the Content Delivery Server dropdown on the Settings page shows which server is being used when it's set to Autodetect (e.g., "Autodetect (Arizona Cache)"); however, if it's not set to Autodetect, the option just says "Autodetect". Would it be possible to have it show which server would be autodetected? If it's set to Autodetect, I can already tell which server I'm on from the page footer—but if I've manually chosen a specific server, it'd be useful to know where I'd be sent to if I switched back to autodetection.
GreenReaper
2 years, 5 months ago
This is actually an optimization! The current design is to identify the user's preference, if any, and then try to use that server if it is active. If they have no preference, it instead uses their IP location to select and retrieve information on the closest active server. As such, it only knows what the autodetected server would be if you actually use autodetection – in which case it must be the selected server.

You're right that it might be useful to know in advance, though. (Also there is a bug here when staff look at account pages; you can probably guess what it is. :-)
andoras
2 years, 5 months ago
I like how IB shares infos likis with us users. This made me curious. Where can I find how the routing is here in middle Europe?
GreenReaper
2 years, 5 months ago
If you check your account details you can see what your routing is if you select "Autodetect".

You'll be going to the Netherlands cache/secondary server - which is great, because it's just 35ms away from you, and it stores a copy of our entire image database, updated nightly. If the file is new, and it hasn't saved it yet, it will get it from the main server, which lives in the same datacenter.

The Netherlands cache is in fact set to serve the entire world. However, its priority is such that other caches will be selected instead if they are active. The same is true for the Arizona and Virginia caches; each is set to serve the USA if the other is set to be offline (and South America, too, if Brazil is offline). It's like a global wedding cake, with multiple towering layers of coverage!
andoras
2 years, 5 months ago
Thank you very mutch for the full answer.
Roketsune
2 years, 5 months ago
*thrusts his paws into the air* Hahaha, more progress! Progress is good!
Shiyosha
2 years, 5 months ago
For me the Sydney cache (which IB auto detects for my region) currently doesn't work, as all thumbs/images simply won't load on my end. Wonders if this is a temporary issue perhaps.
GreenReaper
2 years, 5 months ago
There was a network connectivity issue for roughly an hour and a half at our Sydney provider. It looks to have been resolved just a few minutes ago, but we'll have a chat with them. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Edit: Their response:
" Yes, for approximately 1.5 hours we worked with our upstream provider to correct a network issue that affected some nodes in our Australia location. This has been resolved and there should be no issues going forward. Please accept our sincerest apology for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Shiyosha
2 years, 5 months ago
Ah that explains why, I figured it'd may have been something like that. (from my personal history I always seem to have bad luck with Australian servers, despite being closer to them) ^^;
No inconvenience caused as switching to the good old Netherlands server worked fine and the Sydney server is working now, thanks. ^-^
gr8fzy1
2 years, 4 months ago
I'm not very tech savvy, so does having cashes on the east coast mean faster page load times for me in CT?
GreenReaper
2 years, 4 months ago
It should do! You're 12.5ms from the Virginia cache, and 16.5ms from the Quebec one (where you'll get full-size images). A month ago, you'd have been directed to the Netherlands - five times further away.

This only applies to the content on the page - e.g. images, thumbnails, user icons, and backgrounds. The page itself (text and instructions to your browser to load images) still comes from the Netherlands. We don't plan to change that, though because our caches relieved most of the image-serving load, it might be slightly faster. Hopefully 82ms is still fast enough!
gr8fzy1
2 years, 4 months ago
hehehe, well I'm viewing your site from a smart phone, so pages take 5-8 seconds go load regardless.  Thanks for the reply you cute green thing. :p
GreenReaper
2 years, 4 months ago
Well, perhaps we can make it five rather than eight, at least. ;-)
Floyd
2 years, 4 months ago
This is an interesting read! And I got to learn my meridians!
GreenReaper
2 years, 4 months ago
Inkbunny: Entertaining and educational!

It's a bit of a headache figuring out where to draw the line, as the Internet doesn't work precisely by physical geography, more by the geography of, say, submarine cables. (This shows why Colombia isn't served by our Brazil cache, although the giant forest in the way is another part of the reason.)
sys64738
2 years, 4 months ago
Lets just hope that a shark is not going to byte those submarine cables and upload himself to IB by accident because a submarine cable was bitten by a shark last week and yes that made it into my local newscast
GreenReaper
2 years, 4 months ago
We timed our expansion for the middle of shark week; as you can see, we attracted plenty of sharks.
KangeeGold
2 years, 4 months ago
As a South African, I've never felt any major issues when connection to IB, but today it does seem slightly smoother with new cache less than 100km from where I live.
GreenReaper
2 years, 4 months ago
We have bandwidth to spare there, and it'll get better the more people visit, so tell your friends! :-)

Even if things aren't in the cache, it maintains connections to the Netherlands, which can be faster than making them yourself.
ZekromLover
2 years, 4 months ago
I got me curious... What's the server for Central America, one in US or another in South America?
GreenReaper
2 years, 4 months ago
The default cache for Central America is in Virginia, USA. It is close enough to provide a good speed - for example, it is just 53ms away from you (vs. 130ms for Brazil) - and it is better in other respects (CPU/RAM/storage/transfer) than any server that we could afford that is actually in Central America. Plus, if the file isn't there, it is going in the right direction - it will look in Quebec, then the Netherlands.

Because Virginia does not store full-sized files, you will be sent to Quebec (66ms) for them.
Before those caches were established, you would have hit Arizona, which is 85ms away.
And before that, it would have been the Netherlands - another 130ms round-trip.
BreakingCloud
2 years, 4 months ago
Hi there! I don't now if this has anything to do it with, but... I'm having trouble viewing certain thumbnails and images here on Inkbunny now. It's hard to even check my inbox since I can't see what's exactly there. ^^;
GreenReaper
2 years, 4 months ago
There was an issue with disk space on the Arizona cache due to an unusual burst of uncached traffic, which we resolved later on in the night. Sorry for the inconvenience!
BreakingCloud
2 years, 4 months ago
No worries! It did fix up as soon as the problem came, so.. glad to see it wasn't any errors on my part. Thank you guys for doing what you do! ^^
PuppyBunny
2 years, 3 months ago
All of my images are broken... :(
GreenReaper
2 years, 3 months ago
Well, they shouldn't be! We don't show any oddities for the cache in your location, or errors related to your IP address - was it a Is this something temporary? Check also whether you or your ISP have any security software or hardware enabled.
PuppyBunny
2 years, 3 months ago
" GreenReaper wrote:
Well, they shouldn't be! We don't show any oddities for the cache in your location, or errors related to your IP address - was it a Is this something temporary? Check also whether you or your ISP have any security software or hardware enabled.


Seems everything has fixed itself overnight!
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