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Posted by
Satish Raghunath on
May 23, 2016
General

Twin Prime: Leveraging NS1 for Traffic Management and Mobile Performance

Fueled by an explosion in the mobile space and diversity of last mile connectivity, intelligent network routing has become critical to providing a cohesive, data-driven approach to content delivery. By analyzing data from billions of network measurements, Twin Prime specializes in accelerating mobile performance, improving network reliability, and delivering exceptional user experience. 

Twin Prime powers the fastest way to deliver content to mobile devices on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks. The company’s GLAS™ technology utilizes an automated hypothesis testing infrastructure to mitigate imperfections and variability in the wireless last mile by optimizing and customizing the content delivery strategy every time a mobile app is launched, in real-time. 

Twin Prime solves for the inherent volatility and diversity among devices and networks so companies can increase user engagement and build brand affinity. These optimizations are content agnostic, don’t rely on caching, compression or content modification, and enable Twin Prime customers to engage their users by delivering high quality content, even over secure protocols like HTTPS. Fortune 500 brands, m-commerce, social media apps, advertising networks, publishers and companies of all sizes with a mobile presence rely on Twin Prime to connect with millions of customers daily. 

With the responsibility of managing traffic for millions of users around the world, a core requirement for Twin Prime’s infrastructure is a performant and reliable DNS service. After a thorough evaluation of all the key players and looking at various open source and do-it-yourself options, Twin Prime decide that NS1’s intelligent DNS & traffic management platform delivered the speed, reliability, and control they needed. 

Why NS1

When initially evaluating DNS vendors, it became immediately clear that NS1 was the only provider to offer several key features that directly applied to Twin Prime’s infrastructure needs. For example, a primary requirement was to have full control over pairing Twin Prime endpoints with corresponding mobile handsets. While in theory, DNS is an excellent vector point to exercise this control, most managed DNS providers focus on static DNS and only have rudimentary traffic management features such as geotargeting and round-robin load balancing. Twin Prime needed more than that.  NS1’s Filter Chain technology provided an easy-to-use interface with the ability to build highly granular traffic rules – perfectly tuned to meet Twin Prime’s use case.

Furthermore, having a truly global, always-on network presence is impossible without automated mechanisms that quickly identify and react to infrastructure failures. Twin Prime implemented NS1’s built-in monitoring service to constantly check service endpoints’ health status and intelligently route around trouble spots with zero impact on end users.

As a further benefit, Twin Prime leverages NS1’s API-first architecture that provides transparent access to all features available in the NS1 GUI and allowed them to tightly incorporate DNS-related statistics into their own, in-house monitoring frameworks.

Building a Custom Traffic Routing Schema with NS1

Capable of examining throughput and latency measurements across thousands of locations, Twin Prime possesses a keen understanding of how to steer traffic across their backend accelerators. To efficiently route users onto their platform, they leverage NS1’s Filter Chain.
 
As a start, Twin Prime combines geotargeting and answer sorting to get mobile users to the best network endpoint. Depending on which part of the world they are serving, this may include targeting by country, province or latitude/longitude information. They also leverage edns-client-subnet information to improve geotargeting. edns-client-subnet support is a newer standard which utilizes additional user metadata from Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, and other resolvers, to significantly improve georouting.

Furthermore, Twin Prime achieves better load distribution by shuffling answers and biasing traffic to servers with more available capacity. By incorporating dynamic measurement data into the meta-data of answers, Twin Prime is able to make real-time adjustments to DNS responses. They then use their own, internal custom health-checks then make sure to avoid servers that are seeing software and hardware related issues.

The aforementioned NS1 monitors help Twin Prime run global multi-city probes to detect failures. These monitors work in conjunction with Twin Prime’s own health-check APIs. When failures are detected they are displayed on Twin Prime’s internal monitoring framework and dashboard.

Beyond API, NS1 has a growing ecosystem of 3rd party integration with many SDKs, monitoring services, and notification services. Twin Prime has been using NS1’s Python and Ansible module for automating various traffic rules specific to their platform.

In summary, Twin Prime has found NS1 to be an invaluable partner. The advanced features, easy to use interfaces, and world-class support make it perfect for solving mobile data delivery challenges. 

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