Thanh-Vi Le
Aug 5, 2022
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New: Optimizely Full Stack now offers starter kits for Fastly, Akamai, Cloudflare, Vercel, and AWS Lambda@Edge

By John Nguyen and Griffin Cox

In an increasingly competitive digital landscape where 100ms of added latency can cost 1% of sales, performance has never been more critical. All else equal, the fastest company wins. 

Imagine you’re in California, using a simple messaging app. Let’s say you’re using an app powered by data centers on the other side of the world. You tap “view messages” and wait. And wait. Every millisecond you spend waiting is a waste of time. Your mind quickly wanders to something else. You may even start to consider finding a better app. 

The time it takes to complete the roundtrip for a request to view your messages will be longer than if servers nearby would fulfill the request. The lag is much larger for intercontinental requests. 

Recognizing this added time latency, companies in the 2000s began to operate multiple on-premises data centers that would route user requests to the nearest location. With the rapid growth in cloud computing, hosting and maintaining multiple data centers became easier, further improving performance. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) emerged as a specialized way to serve data from the cloud as quickly and as cheaply as possible... that is until recent developments in Edge computing. 

Companies looking to deliver content such as images, videos, and other assets blazingly fast are turning to ultra-distributed networks that seek to serve data as geographically close to the user as possible, sometimes as close as within the same city. These networks have come to be known as Edge networks. Numerous SaaS vendors such as Fastly, Akamai, Cloudflare, Vercel, and AWS Lambda@Edge are at the forefront of this technology. 

Edge providers build highly scalable and localized content delivery networks that must operate with extraordinary resource constraints on memory, run time, and CPU usage to be financially feasible. Rather than run one server cluster in one data center, Edge networks host limited functionality at countless Edge locations as they are needed.  

Here at Optimizely, we are committed to minimizing the performance impact of experimentation. At each stage of this technological arms race, we’ve supported the latest and greatest technologies so that our customers can save development effort and provide the best experience possible to their users. This means extending support for modern technologies as our customers adopt them. That’s why we’re proud to announce best-in-class support for Edge computing on five of the world’s most popular Edge networks: Fastly, Akamai, Cloudflare, Vercel, and AWS Lambda@Edge

Edge Computing 

Edge computing enables you to build fast and customizable experiences, incorporating the familiarity and convenience of serverless functions with the speed of close-proximity computation from the edges of a given network. You can think of it as analogous to a CDN wired up to serverless functions. 

Edge computing provides the ideal mechanism for handling high-impact, low-cost decisions that directly influence user experiences – a perfect match for running experimentation using Optimizely. 

Optimizely Edge Starter Kits 

Today, using Edge computing services with Optimizely’s Full Stack SDK has been made easy with our brand-new edge starter kits available to help kickstart experimentation at the Edge, with support for five major platforms – Fastly, Akamai, Cloudflare, Vercel, and AWS Lambda@Edge. 

Each starter kit provides an example implementation of the Optimizely Full Stack JavaScript Lite SDK that covers everything from importing and initializing the SDK and setting up user context to making decisions and returning the response of those decisions. In addition, each starter kit aligns to each platform’s specific space and time constraints and approaches to caching, data fetching, and response handling. 

Using our Optimizely starter kits, you can spin up new edge computing instances ready for experimentation within minutes, all with the familiarity of JavaScript and our Full Stack SDKs. 

You can view each starter kit’s developer documentation with step-by-step instructions here: 

  1. Fastly 
  2. Akamai 
  3. Cloudflare 
  4. Vercel 
  5. AWS Lambda@Edge 

Benefits of using Optimizely @ Edge 

Here are some benefits you'll find when using Optimizely at the edge, compared to our client-side and server-side solutions. 

Balance Speed with Customization for User Experience 

By computing, caching, and serving your data at the edge of the network, close to your users and/or source of data, edge computing provides all the speed of a CDN with the customizability of a serverless function. The starter kits enable you to utilize that speed and power for your use cases, from changing which assets are delivered based on decisions to making split-second decisions on user eligibility based on geographical location. 

Reducing Overhead & Streamlining Developer Experience 

Our edge starter kits provide an excellent developer experience, bringing the familiarity of JavaScript and our Full Stack SDKs into the world of edge computing. In addition, you’ll find that setting up an edge service may be easier than you think, as new services can be spun up in minutes and reduces the overhead of development compared to alternative methods of achieving the same balance of speed and customization. 

Improved Security over Client-side Implementation 

Making client-side decisions is fast, but insecure. Making decisions on your server and relaying them to your client is secure and slow. The middle ground is edge computing – providing both a fast and secure environment to serve decisions. 

Ready to Get Started? 

Check out our docs for step-by-step guides for each Edge provider. Our Customer Success Managers and Solutions Architects are here to help you, so don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you might have. 

Aug 05, 2022

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