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Ireland: +353 1 906-9231 - USA: 855-699-6763 - UK: +44 20 3529-6775 info@mv.ie
The future of Shortwave

The future of Shortwave

The world is in a state of upheaval, and many tried and true institutions are suddenly being put into question. In the field of international broadcasting, one of the items being asked is the viability of Shortwave radio in the age of satellites and the Internet.

Virtually every leading international broadcaster is considering this question, and that includes Milano Ventures Ltd. We have been in contact with other organisations, and have also sought the advice of leading independent specialists in this field, to formulate our picture of the trends. Very importantly, we have been careful to distil truth from fiction and wishful thinking in drawing our conclusions.

In our view, there can be no direct replacement of Shortwave as the first line of international broadcasting, especially for most of Africa, some regions in Asia, Pacific and South America and worldwide in case of political or religious instability, regional or widespread conflict and calamities. Even in the most developed countries in North America and Europe, shortwave still reaches a niche group of information savvy, culture and news addict people in search of first-hand news and information not available elsewhere. At the same time, we acknowledge that satellites and the Internet do have their place and have become increasingly important somewhere down the road.

It is not our intention to hinder progress. Although Shortwave has been a mainstay of our operations for almost three decades now, we were very quick and early in identifying the growth potential of new technologies and were the first broadcasting organisation in Europe to offer streaming media via the Internet as early as 1994.

The missionary broadcaster

In our investigations, we have become very concerned about certain commercial forces that would attempt to depict satellite and other technologies as a panacea. Based on the experience of other broadcasters and the thoughts of other qualified observers in this field, we caution against a full transition into these new audio technologies at the expense of Shortwave. Certain international broadcasters already fell into this trap, and now, unfortunately, some may regret it. Once a shortwave station has been demolished. Unfortunately, it will be quite long and very expensive to bring it back on the air.

The importance of Shortwave radio broadcasting

There is much pessimistic talk today about the validity of shortwave as a vehicle of international broadcasting. Critics present several arguments: high operating costs, environmental considerations, a need to re-channel available funds into satellites and the Internet, and what is loosely termed a decline in shortwave. From the broadcast planner and decision-maker, this catalogue of negative arguments appears sound and reasonable. From the perspective of a large segment of the audience, however, reductions in shortwave services are inexplicable and a source of frustration and even anger.

We are in a period of restructuring, a contemporary buzzword that is used and abused so frequently as a catch-all excuse to justify virtually any action taken by management, regardless of how inappropriate. The media are ruled by so-called market forces. Radio and television no long produce programs, but products. Today there are no listeners; there are markets.

Superficially, the cost of shortwave as compared to satellite, local FM, AM (Medium Wave) program distribution or internet streaming appears higher. But if the factors of market penetration and acceptability are considered, as well as the crucial factor of the personal cost to the listener, shortwave wins hands down. There are millions of shortwave receivers in use. They are compact, portable, easy to use, and above all, cheap. Technically speaking, there is no other sound broadcasting medium that can compete with shortwave in these respects.

Overall in this short analysis, we consider analogue shortwave vs other media intended for international broadcasting, as opposed to digital shortwave, or DRM. Unless there are mass availability and penetration of low cost and technically viable DRM receivers, it is our opinion that digital shortwave will remain – unfortunately – a mere scientific experiment.

NEXUS-IBA and European Gospel Radio Shortwave HF antennas

HF Shortwave radio directional antennas can beam to any World target

 

The mobility factor

Mobility is a huge advantage in shortwave and another striking deficiency in satellite sound broadcasting and Internet streaming. Current technology does not permit us to carry a satellite or internet receiver in our pocket and take it along on our travels. Reception of continuous audio or video streaming on mobile phones or internet radio devices in mobility is mostly unaffordable or technically unreliable in most parts of the world, because of widespread unavailability of high-speed internet, high wireless internet costs and high battery consumption. Cable distribution of international programs is often cited as a promising alternative to direct home satellite reception, but here too, cable installations are fixed; they cannot be used away from the home setting.

Shortwave radio listening in Africa

The political, religious and emergency factor

Perhaps the most important reason of retaining redundant capabilities of shortwave broadcasting to the exterior is that radio broadcasts operated from shortwave transmitters and directional antennas may reach areas that may be sealed from other media (paper, local radio & TV, Internet) and will overcome any permanent or temporary ban (i.e. in case of elections) of using local media to carry international or foreign programs. Although the use of shortwave nationally is not common, there are countries (i.e. Peru, India, Africa) where shortwave is also used nationwide and can be used in emergencies to reach a vast area even with a single transmitter.

Be it for reasons of foreign politics, religious proselytism or even for reason goodwill, retaining and maintaining shortwave broadcasting capability guarantees free flow of information, which may be a necessity in time of conflict or emergency, in order to reach a foreign audience, our own citizens or our group members, both inland and abroad.

Shortwave listenining

The cost factor

Analogue shortwave receivers (sometimes called “world radios”) are cheap and affordable. Currently, Amazon carries shortwave receivers starting from about US$ 15.00. Less expensive radio receivers are available in Asia from manufacturers in China and Taiwan. Higher quality shortwave PLL receivers with digital frequency readout cost around US$ 100 and more for professional radios. This is far below the cost of a computer, a smartphone, tablet, TV or satellite receiver and makes shortwave receivers affordable even to the poorest segments of the world populations in Africa and Asia.

Secure Web Services with Wornex International (Ireland)

Satellite broadcasting

Billions of dollars have been invested in telecommunication satellite technology. It is elementary that the investors expect a return on their investments, and considering the limited life span of satellites, this return must be as fast as possible. The main thrust of broadcasting today is television, and it was for TV that the current broadcast satellite technology was designed. In concrete terms, the concept of transmission capacity for these satellites was designed with TV in mind, not radio. Sound Broadcasting, to use the ITU terminology, was promoted later as a way to merchandise over-capacity and to improve the return on investment.

International broadcasting on satellite and Shortwave

Furthermore accessing sound channels on satellites is user-unfriendly, and therefore unattractive for most people. Although impressive statistics based on satellite-households are often quoted to support the satellite radio argument, only a very tiny fragment of this potential audience ever listens to radio via satellite. In Europe, where direct satellite radio is allegedly highly developed, only a few per cent of satellite households ever use their satellite receiver for sound broadcasting.

As far as satellite TV programming the matter is not quite the potential audience that may be reached using a constellation of satellites to cover the entire globe, where a single shortwave transmitter could cover all. But rather the point is who watches satellite TV, not who can watch it. Again, as we will see for other media, satellite TV reception is not generally available in most parts of Africa and the poorest regions in Asia.

Internet

Since around the year 2000 the progressive use of internet radio & video streaming, as well as text content delivery (news portals) have been a cheap way for international broadcasters to replace shortwave broadcasting. The week point of Internet delivery is that Internet is confined still to less than a world average of 35.6% (source: 2012 World Development Indicators, http://databank.worldbank.org), with much less than 10% in most countries in Africa and Asia. Only in the largest towns in Africa, and mainly in the northern Mediterranean areas, the Internet is becoming more available. Still, the Internet may be easily censored or controlled, as in China, Iran, or access to internet streaming content can be limited or unavailable due to severe bandwidth capacity problems.

 

FM and AM relays for international broadcasting

Standard AM and FM stations lose their power as their signals dissipate along the ground over long distances. In shortwave, the opposite is true. The earth is encased in an invisible covering of gases called the Ionosphere. This acts as a mirror, reflecting shortwave signals to Earth, thus making it possible to cover vast distances with a single transmitter. This is why shortwave is so efficient and cost-effective in covering large regions and populations that would not be covered with a single FM, AM or a network of FM transmitters.
Moreover as proven by several International broadcasters, laws and political situations may vary in time and under political or war circumstances so to limit the use of local stations by foreign broadcasters or by local political or religious groups to the ruling party. Shortwave can be operated from several thousand kilometres away of the target and can be made almost immune from interferences and jamming, using careful frequency selection and monitoring.

Conclusions

Like it or not, from a purely technical point of view, the fact is, there is nothing at this moment to replace shortwave. One day there may be. In the meantime, it is good and wise to gain a foothold in the new technologies, and complement the use of shortwave with internet streaming, satellite, AM and FM relays, and maybe experiment with DRM, but not to overestimate or over-represent their value. If market orientation is truly important, then we would have to admit that the demand is still for alternative sources of news and information delivered by shortwave in poor, remote and developing countries and elsewhere in situations of emergency, and political or religious conflicts.

To quote the old saying: “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater”. Another popular and wise saying is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We are in favour of new technology, provided it demonstrates a clear superiority to what is currently in use. In the case of analogue shortwave, some would like to bury it before it has even died.

About NEXUS-IBA

NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association (NEXUS-IBA) is a non-profit association of international broadcasters and program producers founded in 1990 in Milan, Italy. NEXUS-IBA aims to provide all necessary means at our disposal for the effective dissemination of content on radio, the Internet and any media in general. To fulfil its aims, NEXUS-IBA also offers its technical facilities, as well as consulting services to medium and large organisations on broadcasting and emerging media technologies.

People working and volunteering for NEXUS-IBA are professionals, teachers, university professors and researchers, journalists, students and engineers, some of them devoting their spare time and resources as a public service to the global community. On June 15, 1995, NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association was officially approved for association with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations, and since 1988 it has been active in promoting the work and activities of its membership through radio, TV and the Internet.

About Milano Ventures Ltd

From Dublin, Ireland, Milano Ventures Ltd. offers content media delivery services worldwide both to NEXUS-IBA’s members and commercial clients. Services offered by Milano Ventures include: international broadcasting, disaster recovery, professional e-mail, software and application development, domain registration, web marketing & SEO, high reliability WorldDirector cloud hosting and related consulting services.

The future of Shortwave

NEXUS-IBA selects MV as service partner

NEXUS-IBA

NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association (NEXUS-IBA, Milan, Italy) is a non-profit association founded in 1990. NEXUS-IBA aims to provide its membership all necessary means for the effective dissemination of content on radio, TV, the Internet and any media in general. Members of the NEXUS association are individual radio & TV program producers, secular and Christian Ministries, religious, secular and international organisations, NGOs, international broadcasters, volunteers, content producers, media agencies. NEXUS-IBA reaches every country in the world and specifically targets Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Radio and TV broadcasters from all over the world make use of our Internet media streaming & distribution, radio, TV and satellite broadcasting services to reach audiences worldwide.

From Dublin, Ireland, Milano Ventures offers broadcasting, cloud and related consulting services, both to NEXUS-IBA’s members and commercial clients.

Contact us to receive more information on how to broadcast your program worldwide!

This form should only be used to receive information on our broadcasting services, and it must not be used to send us sales or marketing information on your company. Thank you.

International Broadcasting Services

Milano Ventures merges the competences and share the values of NEXUS in offering strategic consultancy and opportunities to international broadcasters, either secular and Christian, to reach any country in the world via International radio and satellite, and with the most advanced cloud technologies, including streaming and online media. Milano Ventures and NEXUS will create your own streaming radio station with a visual player on your own web site, based on your own content and music. We can also help locating and integrating news, information and additional content to create a loyal audience.

Milano Ventures and NEXUS also help your Missisocial media managementon to create a modern communication strategy, i.e. creating real opportunities to make an impact with innovative services, such as marketing automation, fundraising, lead generation, on demand marketing, online presence and social media management for secular and Christian organizations to increase fund-raising opportunities, and help funding your mission and outreaching Ministry.

With the help of Milano Ventures, the NEXUS association is re-focusing as a technology mediator or facilitator, to enable NEXUS-IBA’s worldwide members, as well as end-users, to make full use of innovation and of the recent developments of technology in media, including broadcasting, social media and the Internet.

People volunteering for NEXUS-IBA are professionals, teachers, university professors and researchers, journalists, students and engineers, most of them devoting their spare time and resources as a public service to the global community. On June 15, 1995, NEXUS-International Broadcasting Association was officially approved for association with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations, and for more than 20 years has been actively working in promoting the work and activities of both UN and UNESCO.

Researchers at NEXUS-IBA created the original load-balanced cloud and Content Delivery Network (CDN) called WorldDirector, later used by Wornex, Milano Ventures and their clients in Europe and USA. Over the WorldDirector cloud platform, several Internet related services and applications are delivered to end users, fast and reliably, including streaming audio and video.

NEXUS was chosen because this Latin word says it all: a link or point of connection, using international media, radio, TV and cloud services to link content providers with their audiences.  But NEXUS also stands for more than just a physical connection using a variety of technologies. It also means communication and free flow of information around the world. When an individual or an organization becomes part of NEXUS-IBA, they are part of a dynamic, highly professional and creative team devoted to utilizing the latest technologies to deliver their content at the lowest possible cost.

Request more information:

Contact us for more information

Contact us for more information at info@milanoventures.com
Since Jan. 1, 2017, NEXUS-IBA has been working closely with Milano Ventures to operate IRRS (the Italian Radio Relay Service), IPAR (International Public Access Radio) and EGR (European Gospel Radio) on behalf of NEXUS-IBA’s members.

Milano Ventures is proud to be selected NEXUS-IBA’s commercial partner to service their membership, and maintain their cloud and broadcasting infrastructure across all continents.

What is WorldDirector?

What is WorldDirector?

What is WorldDirector?

WorldDirector is a fully managed Internet cloud technology used to create globally distributed, geographically load-balanced private and public clouds or Content Delivery Networks (CDN), designed to accelerate content from enterprise (private cloud) or public cloud data centres to remote clients at the edge of the Internet. WorldDirector is the first ever technology of this kind, developed in 1994, and deployed since 1995.

In 1994 the original aim of the WorldDirector design was to overcome the effects of a massive earthquake that would keep Silicon Valley servers out of reach for several weeks.

WorldDirector has evolved to a modular product and is offered as service (PaaS, IaaS), optionally with open source or custom applications (SaaS), and it also includes content acceleration by HTTP compression, anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-tojans, anti-worm, anti-cryptolockers filters and DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) protection, local and global load balancing, intrinsic disaster recovery by active and passive data duplication across several data-centres. In fact, WorldDIrector may also be used to provide an effective and inexpensive solution to disaster recovery and may be bundled to provide cloud services, such ashosting, colocation, email services, DNS, data archives, backups, audio and video streaming.

In 2003 the European IST prize selected WorldDirector as a “European IST Prize Nominee”. The European IST Prize was the most distinguished award for innovative European IT products. Selection criteria for the prize included: technical excellence, innovative content, potential market impact, capacity to generate employment, contribution to the acceptance and understanding of IST in society, and likely social impact.

From the product perspective, the WorldDirector technology ensures that Internet connectivity is the most efficient and reliable on the market, at the best cost of ownership. Any site or Internet application can be enabled by WorldDirector. All what is needed is that one of our Linux devices containing WorldDirector hardware and software is placed close to the customer’s server and/or at the ISP’s Web farm. WorldDirector does not require any ‘extra’ software to be installed on the Client software or at the or client server side. There is no ‘Plug-in’ of any kind at either server or client end, nor any modification to the server application needed.

WorldDirector is currently available either under license or as a fully managed service, including hardware and software to install a complete WorldDirector CDN solution. It is available to host end users’ applications, to ISPs, and to corporate accounts. WorldDirector is offered at Wornex data centres in Europe, USA and Asia (including as an option: AWS, Google and Azure cloud locations), and provides service to 300+ web sites, B2B & B2C applications, portals and streaming services on behalf of customers in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

Which innovative features does WorldDirector provide?

In 2015, WorldDirector has been re-developed into a modular product, and includes the following features:

  • Edge caching for Internet servers and applications, regardless of protocol (http, ftp, TCP/IP, UDP, etc.);
  • Multimedia streaming (audio & video) enabler from multiple locations, to bring multimedia content close to the edge of the Internet, and to the end user;
  • HTTP content acceleration via standard IETF Content Encoding to any Web site, regardless of the server’s operating system, HTTP origin server or type of Internet application;
  • Static and dynamic web server accelerator: adds scalability at a very low cost to any web portal or application. Offers more than 40 times increase in performance for dynamic portals, with more than 200 concurrent accesses.
  • Global and local load balancing: this will automatically reduce response time under high load, as well as greatly reduce load on the origin web site. Compared to other systems, a high number of edge servers is not required. The cost of each WorldDirector node is a fraction of the origin Web server in case of large portals. For smaller sites, each WorldDirector node may be shared among different web sites;
  • Protection to Internet Worms & DDOS, by filtering undesired requests to the origin server, as well protecting crosssite scripting vulnerability and upload of malware to origin servers. This may be especially useful to avoid situations of network congestion and breakdowns such as those created by the internet worms, most types of attacks and similar;
  • Automatic Disaster Recovery for any Web site, multimedia archive or ftp site: any content available via “GET” (including dynamic portals) may be made available from any WorldDirector node when the origin Web site is unavailable;
  • Automatic configuration and de-configuration of each WorldDirector node when servers are down, and when they are up again. Any server can be brought down for maintenance when needed, or any network segment can fail without disrupting service until at least one WorldDirector node is reachable. This mechanism is absolutely transparent to end user, application and administrators, and does NOT depend on any master/slave, and has NO central point of failure characteristics like similar cloud and CDN implementations. It also introduces no latency at all, compared to other master/slave or star centered solutions.
  • Distributed email service: WorldDirector is also very effectively used to provide a redundant, globally distributed corporate email service (based on multiple geographically distributed SMTP & MX servers), with DDOS, antivirus and spam protection that can sustain high traffic peaks and multiple server downtime with uninterrupted service.

WorldDirector compared to other cloud and CDN solutions

Although Web accelerators, content caching devices, and multimedia streaming/caching services have recently become available (or claim to be) no similar product or service is currently marketed that includes all the features above.

Generally speaking, cloud solutions are delivered by a single data centre location, possibly using redundant hardware, but more often from a single location, from a single network or AS (Autonomous System), which represent a single point of failure by itself. WorldDirector, instead, provides all services from many different ASes, different networks, and several different geographical servers that operate as autonomous nodes, in an all-master (not master-slave) configuration, and therefore is able to operate even if some servers or parts the Internet are down or unreachable.

Similar services offered by competitors may require modification of the Web site content in order to provide replication. Others  sell devices that heavily depend on master/slave or redirection mechanisms, may add latency and may operate as a single point of failure, diminishing the reliability of the whole system in case of failures.

WorldDirector is conceived as a turn-key system with full service and monitoring included, 100% transparent both with regards to the server application (does not require any modification to the origin web server, its pages or to any of its applications), as well as with clients (it does not require any additional software or plug-in). Additionally, the reliability of the WorldDirector system has allowed us to maintain a status of 100% always available since 1995 for a number of clients’ web sites and applications, even when one or more servers have been unavailable for hours or days for maintenance or due to faults either in the network, hardware or software.

No backup is secure in the cloud, nobody is liable for your data losses

No backup is secure in the cloud, nobody is liable for your data losses

No backup is secure in the cloud, nobody is liable for your data losses

I often get asked about how secure is our clients’ data, and how can a customer backup their data safely. European privacy laws, for example, require that personal data are kept secure and can always be recovered, but there is huge ignorance or wrong assumptions on the part of many IT managers that once they backup data in the cloud, they can have peace of mind.

Among liars in our industry, some low cost, control panel hosting or cloud providers, for example, offer unlimited in/out data transfer, unlimited disk space and free backup services at a very low monthly cost. They are just not liars, but their marketing strategy works well in low advertising cost and free options, well, until you need your data back. If you look carefully between the lines of most fine printed SLAs and contracts, there is mostly no liability for service interruption or data losses. Likely you will also be discontinued if your disk space or monthly data transfer is above the average clients’ usage.

As a side note, Microsoft just discontinued its unlimited OneDrive storage because apparently someone was abusing it and they were surely losing money.

Let’s focus on cloud backups

Several low-cost web hosting companies offer free daily or even hourly backups of web data. What a temptation to upload all of your pictures, all music and videos to a web hosting space for a few dollars, and even get a free backup!

Akeeba backup plugin for WordPress and Akeeba extension for Joomla are some of the solutions that our clients use to save a backup copy of both their web data and databases automatically on the same web/FTP space as the website. Our clients apparently save money, instead of ordering an off-line backup service that is charged more but offers some (real) additional peace of mind.

In fact, for this or any similar backup solution, you should check whether backup files live on the same web or FTP space as the website, because (quite often) a backup remains indefinitely on the same disk or same physical storage device as the original data.

What does it mean? If there is a severe hardware failure, especially with cheap storage solutions, then there may be no data and no backup left, since both the original data and any backup copies were on the same broken storage device. There is usually no or little incentive on the cloud provider in recovering your data because in most cases you have no contractual guarantee on persistence or recovery of your data (check liability or service agreements of major cloud providers excerpted below).

Online services, backup and restore procedures may greatly differ from low cost, professional hosting services and cloud providers. On the low-cost control panel web services, risks can be much higher, also due to the fact that there may not be any off-line backup of clients’ data; control panel software can be more exposed to bugs and security issues that cannot be corrected immediately; and hundreds of clients are usually packed on high density, memory, disks and networks of low-cost service providers.

No liability for data losses in the cloud

In general there is no guarantee of service continuity or data loss when you look at contracts and SLAs or – if there is any – it’s not for standard services and not in standard SLAs. Amazon, Google and Microsoft mention very clearly that their liability is none (or almost none) in case of service interruption and loss of customers’ data (I lost an entire disk when running a test on Amazon AWS, it failed and was put out of service. However, since all data was replicated on WorldDirector’s servers outside AWS, I could easily rebuild it).

Amazon AWS data loss liability

Amazon’s AWS terms:

https://aws.amazon.com/agreement/ – specifically, section 11:

WE AND OUR AFFILIATES OR LICENSORS WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES (INCLUDING DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, GOODWILL, USE, OR DATA), EVEN IF A PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. FURTHER, NEITHER WE NOR ANY OF OUR AFFILIATES OR LICENSORS WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY COMPENSATION, REIMBURSEMENT, OR DAMAGES ARISING IN CONNECTION WITH: (A) YOUR INABILITY TO USE THE SERVICES, …

Google data loss liability

Excerpt of Google’s liability: https://www.google.com/policies/terms/

WHEN PERMITTED BY LAW, GOOGLE, AND GOOGLE’S SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST PROFITS, REVENUES, OR DATA, FINANCIAL LOSSES OR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES …

Microsoft’s data loss liability

Microsoft Policy:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/support/legal/subscription-agreement-nov-2014/

7.2 : EXCLUSION. Neither party will be liable for indirect, special, incidental, consequential, punitive, or exemplary damages, or damages for lost profits, revenues, business interruption, or loss of business information, even if the party knew that such damages were possible.

What can you do to secure your data?

I started my career in the GTD5-EAX digital telephone exchange world in the 80 and 90s’. At that time, if you wanted to guarantee uninterrupted telephone service, exchanges had to be duplicated (as well as billing data), and spare copies of hardware were to be made active automatically whenever there was a fault. The only bottleneck was the digital subscriber’s line and its interface.

To avoid service disruption, if you work on critical applications, you should use a backup solution based on multiple, redundant, off-line storage that is not using the same hardware devices as your live data. The higher the number of redundant copies made off-line and at different geographical locations, the higher the likelihood that you can recover your data in full as soon as it is needed.

Also: never trust your only cloud provider 100%, use more than one provider, and more than one data-centre to store your data, and also keep additional copies off-the cloud if you can.

Conclusions

If you want to have a close to 100% service guarantee and a real ability to recover data, what you can do is minimize the risks by paying more and make use of fully redundant services, i.e. redundant connectivity offered by many different AS (Autonomous Systems), full hardware and software redundancy (multiple cold or hot copies), maintain redundant off-line backups, and store data and offer access from servers located at different geographical locations in a global load balancing configuration that has no single point of failure.

5 secrets to fast and reliable cloud services

5 secrets to fast and reliable cloud services

5 secrets to fast and reliable cloud services

I often come across low cost, low-grade competitors who offer cloud and free-bundled DNS services out of a single server farm or, even worse, providing DNS services hosted on the same server or the same network, sometimes even at the end of a very remote xDSL line. Under these conditions, using a single location for a DNS system, long latency and any temporary network failure cause disruption of all services for a domain, including the potential loss of email.

The importance of a good Domain Name System (DNS) and a network consisting of globally distributed application servers help to build fast and reliable cloud services.

  1. When looking for always-on internet solutions, to protect against network failures and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks the ideal situation is to use redundancy. This usually means using both redundant DNS and redundant servers hosted at different locations, possibly routed by different AS (Autonomous Systems). Down-times with major cloud and CDN providers often occur because their systems are not designed to survive a single point of failure that is inherent in their architecture.
  2. Any cloud service provider should offer their clients multiple (more than two), redundant DNS servers on different network segments and at various physical locations, with inherent redundancy in all potential single point of failures. Anycast DNS services can also be a more expensive solution (sometimes less effective) to this problem.
  3. Do you remember the notorious technological problems of HealthCare.gov (the US president Obama Health Insurance Marketplace)? When too many users access an application at the same time (i.e. any line application or a web server) either the server itself or the network may become overloaded. The result is increased latency (slow or no response) and potential loss of data. By carefully engineering on-line applications so that the number of servers can be dynamically increased, the application load and the number of users may be distributed among different servers, at different geographical locations, and more transactions can be managed at the same time. On the other hand, when a single data centre or a single server fails, or if a router or the network is overloaded, all online services will become slow or unreachable.
  4. By increasing the number of geographical locations where multiple origin servers are hosted, it is also possible to “load balance” and improve reliability of the whole system. If one or more servers or one or more network segments fail, a globally distributed load balancing system will continue to provide service, until there is at least one server online. To this extent, the most common load-balancing or passive CDN solutions that rely on a single origin server are not valid solutions.
  5. Configuration and de-configuration of servers in case of network or server problems should be fully automatic and should require little or no human intervention after initial set-up. A global load balancing mechanism like WorldDirector provides a fully redundant and distributed DNS system including content acceleration.

Check for example applications like Italyguides by Compart Multimedia that use a distributed cloud system. Italyguides appears “faster” anywhere in the world, and responds quickly to end users despite a large amount of data involved.

Radio Colore: web and in-store radio

Radio Colore: web and in-store radio

Radio Colore

Radio Colore is container or platform for professional training, news, culture, events and competitions, with a unique soft adult contemporary (lite AC) music format to relax, inspire and entertain at the same time. Radio Colore is not just a radio station, but also a community that engages professionals in the building and decoration industry, with a very Italian-style touch.

Milano Ventures developed a custom software and automation that creates a music and information mix in real-time. Milano Ventures delivers Radio Colore to mobiles, shops, homes and workplaces using WordDirector as a hybrid (private & public) cloud and CDN for audio and video streaming.