We’re happy to announce that we’ve added anycast support to Zenlayer Global Accelerator to bump up the speed, availability, and reliability of your network. Plus, it helps mitigate DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks by design.
What is Anycast, exactly? How does it work?
Anycast is an IP (internet protocol) addressing method. IP addressing is the process of assigning an IP address - a unique numerical label - that names a device on the internet or in a local network. Any device that is connected to a network has an IP address, including the computer or smartphone you’re using to read this article.
Anycast lets a group of servers anywhere in the world advertise a single, shared IP address. When a user sends a request to that IP address, anycast will evaluate all available routes from those servers to the user.
It does so by employing a distance/performance cost analysis that prioritizes data delivery based on receiver proximity and server health. This translates to faster speeds, lower latency, and a much smoother experience for your users.
Anycast is one of the four main IP addressing methods. The other three are unicast, multicast, and broadcast. To learn more about each of these methods and how they compare with anycast, check out this quick anycast overview.
The true powers of anycast
Although the primary benefit of anycast is efficiency, anycast networks enjoy other ancillary benefits. Here are just a few things that anycast can do:
Improve the speed and availability of your network
Because Anycast routes traffic based on server health and receiver proximity, it uses fewer internet hops - reducing latency and speeding up connectivity. An internet hop occurs when traffic “hops” from one network to the next. For example, as you send a message to a friend across the country, that message might hop from one network provider to another, then another, and so on before it reaches its destination.
You won’t have to worry about this with Anycast as it automatically chooses the best and shortest available route to send your traffic to your receiver. Convenient, right?
Make your network more reliable and responsive
Because Anycast allows multiple servers to share the same IP address, it increases redundancy. If the closest server to your user goes down for whatever reason, the user’s request would be redirected to the next closest server that shares the same IP address. If that server is also down, then it redirects the request to the next closest server, and so on.
This means that anycast also complements load balancing - a method of spreading out network traffic across multiple servers so that no single server gets overloaded by requests. This improves the availability of your network and the responsiveness of your applications.
Safeguard your network from DDoS attacks
A DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack happens when a malicious actor or group of actors tries to take down a server by inundating the target with a flood of sudden traffic. When the target server gets overwhelmed by the attack, its hosted websites and content will load slower. In extreme cases, the server’s entire network can completely crash.
Talk about a bad user experience!
By design, anycast networks are less likely to be overwhelmed by DDoS attacks because they’re more efficient at rerouting traffic. Even if the attack successfully takes down a target server, other servers with the same IP address can immediately take over as backup. However, an anycast network is not a substitute for actual anti-DDoS services. Check out this article on DDoS protection if you need a more comprehensive anti-DDoS solution.
How does Anycast improve Zenlayer Global Accelerator?
Zenlayer Global Accelerator is a network acceleration service that enhances digital experiences for businesses that serve users worldwide.
By letting a group of servers share the same IP, anycast simplifies and speeds up your (or your IT team’s) rollout of network fixes and updates. Instead of having to update each server with its own IP address separately, you can roll them out to all your grouped servers at once. This makes Zenlayer Global Accelerator easier to deploy and manage on your network.
Anycast also amplifies the acceleration effect of Zenlayer Global Accelerator by selecting the best path for your accelerated traffic – speeding up your whole network even more.
That sounds amazing! How do I start using Anycast?
By default, when you sign up for our service, we’ll give you one static IP (a set IP address that doesn’t change) per acceleration zone that you’ll configure to match your DNS (domain name system – this links your web address, or CNAME, i.e., www.zenlayer.com, to the static IP address) for that zone.
If you’re currently a Zenlayer Global Accelerator customer, you can start using anycast at no additional cost. Just contact our sales team and our provisioning experts will give you an anycast IP address. After that, just configure your DNS to match your new anycast IP address and you’re ready to start enjoying all that anycast has to offer.
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