Jiji Press, Ltd.
Content Delivery Network
Smart Content Delivery Advance Speeds up Leading News Sites in Japan
Jiji Press runs "jiji.com", an information site accessed by ten million users each month. Since its launch, the traffic has increased at a feverish pitch and the costs incurred in enhancing infrastructure have jumped. Furthermore, the Lower House elections scheduled in the summer of 2009 led the team to predict traffic explosion. With emergency measures becoming necessary, the "Smart Content Delivery Advance(SCD-A)" (Current Service name is "Content Delivery Network Plan1") was introduced as a trial. This allowed the company to avoid delay in displaying content to the users.
Free News Sites Cannot Predict Traffic Peak
Jiji Press is a news agency that provides news in various fields. It provides news to a wide audience such as news for business users including banks and security companies, public offices, and mobile users along with mass media such as national newspapers, block newspapers, local newspapers, NHK, and key commercial TV stations. As for PC users of general public, it runs "jiji.com", a free information site. This is one of the leading sites in the industry and records more than ten million hits each month. The number of users is also seen to be increasing at a feverish pitch. With services distributing news with charge, the number of subscribers is known. This allows the company to predict the site traffic in advance thus to plan sufficient server capacity. However, it is difficult to predict how much traffic such free news sites may generate. A significant incident can trigger the traffic to explode. In such circumstances, Mr. Katsuyoshi Okada, Chief of Second Development Department in Systems Development Division that runs "jiji.com" would drop all work and monitor the server.
"With exploding traffic, we had to constantly monitor the load on several servers and the state of the firewall. When the load on a certain server increases, we need to take action such as separating the server. It easily took one to two hours just for those tasks."
They had already increased the number of servers and lines several times in the past. In the be inning, they had the servers in the company. Once traffic increased, they moved the servers to a datacenter.
Furthermore, they increased the housing lines and prepared multiple housing to spread the load. However, every time efforts were made, the costs swelled up.
Mr. Katsuyoshi Okada
Verifying the Effects of "Smart Content Delivery Advance" as a Trial before the Lower House Elections
While servers and lines were costly, the worst problem was that of the firewall. Increased traffic required models with advanced functions to deal with it. These models were very expensive. Increased traffic also meant increased attacks from outside. There was no way the project manager could relax security. According to Mr. Hiroshi Nishiu, Manager of Second Systems Development Division, it was a game of cat and mouse between the increasing traffic and device enhancement.
"When we introduced a new firewall, we explained to the staff in the company that the firewall could deal with triple more traffic than that time. However, the traffic actually tripled in a year. They asked me if we had to update firewall every year."
If they tried to enhance the facility to deal with the increasing traffic, a firewall equivalent to that of the provider would be needed. The Lower House elections were right around the corner. Naturally, the traffic would increase during the campaign. If the project manager tried to enhance the servers and lines, it would take several months. Then, Mr. Nishiu and Mr. Okada decided to try the "Smart Content Delivery Advance(SCD-A)." With SCD-A, they did not have to change the server configuration. The Lower House elections were only one week away. Normally, it would have taken between one and one and a half months including testing, to introduce SCD-A. However, Jiji Press configured "jiji.com" by themselves, and with the expertise and help of the persons in charge, including Mr. Okada, they completed the trial introduction of SCD-A within several weeks.
"While the test results showed several issues, we had no problems in the actual operations," says Mr. Okada, surprised by the reliability of SCD-A.
The effects of SCD-A were obvious during the election campaign. This led to their decision to officially introduce SCD-A in February, 2010. The Vancouver Olympic Games were scheduled and traffic increased as the great performance of Japanese athletes. Nevertheless, there was no delay in displaying content on the screen.
Not only Servers, but Staffs also at Ease
Currently, 70 % of the traffic on the "jiji.com" is managed by cache servers of SCD-A. Not only servers, but the staff in charge also feels at ease now. "We used to have several staff stuck on the monitors once traffic increased. Now, we just glance at the monitors saying with a smile that the traffic is increasing a bit."
We can feel some leeway from Mr. Nishiu talking about how it changed after the introduction of SCD-A. Before introducing the SCD-A, they ran the site with servers located across both the company and the datacenter to spread the server load. They even played some tricks and left just images in the servers with high capacity in order to reduce the load on other servers. Those tricks are no longer necessary today. They even considered disconnecting some of the servers for other applications.
"In 2010, there is also the FIFA World Cup. We expect SCD-A to do great work," says Mr. Okada. He would also like to utilize the SCD-A in caching movies and new ever-diversifying services for mobile users.
Mr. Katsuyoshi Okada
"If there is a cache server near a mobile communication network, that alone can accelerate the speed of displaying the contents. Then, if we can distribute news contents using script instead of HTML, we will be able to distribute news more in real time."
Jiji Press has been distributing news to cellular phone users since 1999. They have pioneered news delivery on a network. They have skillfully introduced solutions such as SCD-A to continue to tell us about the constantly changing world without any delay.
Benefits for the customer
- Server operation was more at ease, which allowed the staff to focus on essential operations and the development of new services.
- Several servers prepared to spread the load could be now used for other applications.
Issues of Cost, Facility, and Personnel Were all Solved for the Active Promotion of Network Utilization.
Benefits for the end users
- Even when traffic increased after an unexpected incident, the content were displayed without delay.
- Pages with many images such as photo pages could be viewed without any problems.
Users Could Know About Movements in the World Instantaneously.
- Jiji Press, Ltd.
- Location of the Headquarters:5-15-8 Ginza,Chuo-ku,Tokyo 104-8178, Japan
- Representative:Yutaka Nishizawa (President)
- Established:November 1, 1945
- Business:Distribution and collection of news, information, and various data was realized.