Traffic Router

Traffic Router’s function is to send clients to the most optimal cache server. ‘Optimal’ in this case is based on a number of factors:

  • Distance between the cache server and the client (not necessarily measured in physical distance, but quite often in layer 3 network hops). Less network distance between the client and cache server yields better performance and lower network load. Traffic Router helps clients connect to the best-performing cache server for their location at the lowest network cost.

  • Availability of cache servers and the system processing/network load on the cache servers. A common issue in Internet and television distribution scenarios is having many clients attempting to retrieve the same content at the same time. Traffic Router helps clients route around overloaded or purposely disabled cache servers.

  • Availability of content on a particular cache server. Reusing of content through “cache hits” is the most important performance gain a CDN can offer. Traffic Router sends clients to the cache server that is most likely to already have the desired content.

Traffic routing options are often configured at the Delivery Service level.

DNS Content Routing

For a DNS Delivery Service the client might receive a URL such as http://video.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test/. When the LDNS is resolving this video.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test hostname to an IP address, it ends at Traffic Router because it is the authoritative DNS server for mycdn.ciab.test and the domains below it, and subsequently responds with a list of IP addresses from the eligible cache servers based on the location of the LDNS. When responding, Traffic Router does not know the actual client IP address or the path that the client is going to request. The decision on what cache server IP address (or list of cache server IP addresses) to return is solely based on the location of the LDNS and the health of the cache servers. The client then connects to port 80 (HTTP) or port 443 (HTTPS) on the cache server, and sends the Host: video.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test header. The configuration of the cache server includes the “remap rule” http://video.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test http://origin.infra.ciab.test to map the routed name to an Origin hostname.

HTTP Content Routing

For an HTTP Delivery Service the client might receive a URL such as http://video.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test/. The LDNS resolves this video.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test to an IP address, but in this case Traffic Router returns its own IP address. The client opens a connection to port 80 (HTTP) or port 443 (HTTPS) on the Traffic Router’s IP address, and sends its request.

#21 Example Client Request to Traffic Router
GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: video.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test
Accept: */*

Traffic Router uses an HTTP 302 Found response to redirect the client to the best cache server.

#22 Traffic Router Redirect to Edge-tier cache server
HTTP/1.1 302 Found
Location: http://edge.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test/
Content-Length: 0
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:01:41 GMT

In this case Traffic Router has access to more information when selecting a cache server because it has a full HTTP request instead of just a hostname. Traffic Router can be configured to select a cache server based on any of the following parts of the HTTP request:

  • The client’s IP address.

  • The URL the client is requesting.

  • All HTTP/1.1 headers.

The client follows the redirect and performs a DNS request for the IP address for edge.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test, and normal HTTP steps follow, except the sending of the Host: header when connected to the cache is Host: edge.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test, and the configuration of the cache server includes the “remap rule” (e.g. http://edge.demo1.mycdn.ciab.test http://origin.infra.ciab.test). Traffic Router sends all requests for the same path in a Delivery Service to the same cache server in a Cache Group using consistent hashing, in this case all cache servers in a Cache Group are not carrying the same content, and there is a much larger combined cache in the Cache Group. In many cases DNS content routing is the best possible option, especially in cases where the client is receiving small objects from the CDN like images and web pages. Traffic Router is redundant and horizontally scalable by adding more instances into the DNS hierarchy using NS records.