Aug 07, 2017
The Network is dead! Long live the Network! In our ever-evolving world of web, mobile, IoT applications and systems deployed in the cloud or on-premise – latency is still present as a problem that needs solving. Latency essentially boils down to how responsive a service is (the delay) to you as an end user/business during any and all transactions – big and small.
We solved the bandwidth problem years ago, however latency still plagues many businesses especially when it comes to their consumers – think about how many times you’ve blamed an organisations product for how poorly it performed – this is typically not a bandwidth issue, most of the time it is latency.
The medium in which you and your services are connected can range from fibre and 3G/4G to radio and satellite, depending on where you are and how you deliver your services. Fiber delivers the most bandwidth and smallest latency through to satellite which can still deliver high bandwidth, however, is plagued by latency.
One way to address latency is to move your services closer to your customers (closer to the edge) rather than host in a specific Data Center or Cloud, such as AWS or Azure, and expect your customers to put up with the latency. Public Cloud services don’t solve the latency problem yet, but they have many other benefits like auto-scaling, automatic recovery, load balancing and content delivery networks (CDN).
CDNs help latency by caching media objects like video and image files. However, these are static objects and not transactional data – where you send a request and need a response from the processing system.
Latency is an important factor to consider when designing your application and systems – Relational Databases (RDS) are not always the quickest method to process transactions and the storage method you use such as RDS, Non-Relational Databases like MongoDB and MariaDB, flat files or a mixture of these can make a big difference in how your application performs.
As one of our customers said – bandwidth is cheap, latency is priceless. Your application needs to be tailored to your target market. If it’s only your business users, then sometimes latency can be acceptable, however, if it’s consumers that pay for your services – these days they will not put up with high latency as most likely there is a competitor offering a service that is faster.
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