Strangeloop offers the first Google SPDY Web-site acceleration product

Want a really fast Web-site? Consider adding Google's new SPDY protocol to your site with Strangeloop's Site Optimizer.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Do you want a really fast Web site? I mean really fast? Then there's a variety of proxies, Web caching and secure-socket layer (SSL) accelerators you can try. If that's still not enough, it's time for you to look into Strangeloop's implementation of Google's SPDY into its Site Optimizer product line.

SPDY, pronounced "speedy,"is an experimental replacement protocol for HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). SPDY works by compressing both the data and HTTP header information n the stream between a Web browsers and Web servers that support it. It also speeds Web sites up by prioritizing data requests. That way the important data, say a video stream, gets priority over JavaScript. In practice, I've seen performance boosts of up to 15%.

To do this you need a browser that supports SPDY, like Chrome or a computer that comes with SPDY built in, such as the Samsung Chromebook.

That's the easy part. The hard part was getting SPDY supported on the Web server side. There's been some experimental code you could use, but nothing you could really put with confidence on a production site. That's where Strangeloop comes in.

Strangeloop has been working closely with the Chromium Project team at Google to incorporate SPDY into their Web acceleration product and services lines. In a statement, Mike Belshe, Lead Software Engineer at Google said, "Our goal is to make the web faster for everyone. Strangeloop engineers embraced SPDY from the beginning and provided key data and feedback about their experience. They then integrated SPDY with their Site Optimizer product and moved rapidly from concept to code to product, demonstrating an impressive speed-up in their customers' site performance." The result, according to Strangeloop, is at least a 50% reduction in page load time.

I don't know about that, but I do know that even the 15% I was seeing would be significant for any Web server company I've ever worked with.

The Strangeloop package does more than just add the SPDY protocol to your site. According to the company, it includes an "easy-to-implement solution to the complex challenges of WCO." This "takes HTML that has been optimized for readability, supportability and maintainability and, while retaining these benefits, transforms it to HTML that is optimized for fast page rendering. This involves implementing numerous best practices such as rewriting object names, re-ordering when and how objects are rendered, re-ordering when scripts are executed, and optimizing content based on the requesting browser." In other words, it sets up your Web page so that you can get the benefits of SPDY's data request prioritization.

Strangeloop also states that this isn't just something they've been working on in the labs. "Companies like Petco, Travelocity, Visa, Sodexo, and O'Reilly Media have implemented the Strangeloop Site Optimizer to speed up their websites."

As you might guess from that customer list, Site Optimizer also includes SSL Acceleration features. This feature "offloads cryptographic tasks from the server and, if needed, also provides SSL re-encryption for back-end security."

All-in-all, I think it sounds pretty impressive. Chrome is rapidly becoming the number two Web browser, and-who knows-it may even pass Internet Explorer in 2012. In any case, as it grows, SPDY will become an ever-more popular protocol and we can look forward to it being adopted by other browser vendors. With Strangeloop's Site Optimizer in the data center and SPDY support in clients, you can expect to see real performance improvements for your users.

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