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 cross–site 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.