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Introducing CNAME flattening: Multi CDN on steroids

cname flattening

At mlytics, we strive to find innovative ways to help our users to improve their website even if it’s just milliseconds. This is exactly the story behind the new feature we’re introducing today.

Today we’re announcing CNAME flattening, an additional feature that will improve the performance of the Multi CDN optimization process monumentally.

What is CNAME flattening?

As part of the activation process, when a domain is implemented to the mlytics platform, the system will assign a CNAME, and users are required to create a CNAME record on the DNS with the mlytics assigned CNAME. Once verified and activated, all the requests for the implemented domain will flow through mlytics, the system will assign the best CDN based on the geo and performance data and return the CNAME of the chosen CDN. 

Here’s a visualization of the process:

mlytics multi cdn before cname flattening
The original process looks like this

We can break the CNAME resolving process into:

  1. DNS CNAME to mlytics (request to mlytics)
  2. CDN CNAME provided by mlytics (request to CDN)

Using a CNAME record will add another layer of indirection, so the lookup time will take longer than usual, especially when there are two. Generally, the benefits of using Multi CDN can mitigate such a disadvantage, but our team has been researching new methods to improve this. This is how the mlytics CNAME flattening came about.

The idea is simple: to streamline the second process mentioned above by resolving the CNAME directly on mlytics and feed the CDN IP address to the user directly. The implementation of CNAME flattening has decreased the average CNAME resolving time by 60%.

Here’s the new visualization with CNAME flattening activated:

mlytics multi cdn after cname flattening
We’re shaving off a process off the flow

This feature is now officially live for all users without additional activation required. Try it out and test for yourself today.

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