The unexpected failure of the content delivery network (CDN) called Fastly severely affected the work of numerous websites in Western Europe and North America. These websites are the Guardian, New York Times, Amazon, Twitter, Reddit, and the website of the British government, to name but a few. CDNs are becoming more and more complex and this, in turn, allows them to perform complicated traffic exchange arrangements and guarantee companies stability of their websites operation. However, in the given case, even though Fastly employed complex software, the problem was provoked by the web’s centralization (Hern, 2021). The failure of the central system caused the collapse of numerous websites, whereas in decentralized systems, if the central system fails, the internet traffic is protected via other systems. Therefore, in this case, the role of the complexity of infrastructure was undermined by the failure of traffic and the inability of corporations to employ backup systems in time.
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The present case study also reflects the concept of emergence that means that the overall functioning of the entire system is formed by many simpler processes. Since CDNs transfer digital assets worldwide, their internet exchange points are also located in various places. In other words, these internet exchange points connect internet providers and, hence, give them access to the traffic that should be spread. For this reason, the breakdown of Fastly did not affect the work of websites in Germany but caused outages in Great Britain and the US (Hern, 2021). From one point of view, this emergence and interconnectedness increase the speed of traffic transit. However, at the same time, these factors make the system more vulnerable and increase the number of potential victims of an outage.
The concept of adaptation refers to the process when a system adapts to the unique characteristics of its users and information provided by them. As it is stated in the text of the case study, the modern internet infrastructure is excessively centralized and lacks resilience. That is, it does not adapt to the unique features of every user (Hern, 2021). Indeed, in recent times, computer scientists work on the increase of CDNs flexibility and adaptivity. For example, heavily trafficked governmental websites, in contrast to websites of small local newspapers, require a different approach that would guarantee continuous access. However, at the present moment, this absence of the ability to adapt to the requirements of a user increase the chances for an outage and exacerbate its consequences.
The given case study seems to illustrate the example of evolution rather than co-evolution. This concept is inspired by the findings retrieved from biology on how living organisms adapt to the changing environment. More precisely, computer scientists utilize the basic ideas of the biological evolution of living species to discover how to improve algorithms of artificial intelligence and software programs. Based on the text of the case study, it is rather challenging to describe how scientists will use biological principles to improve CDNs. Nonetheless, the experts see the problem of excessive centralization of the systems and will apply cloud technologies to increase the extent of the re-centralization of the internet (Hern, 2021). From this, one could conclude that the systems experience the evolution process through changes in design that would make them function more effectively in the new environment.
Hern, A. (2021). Massive internet outage hits websites including Amazon, gov.uk and Guardian. The Guardian. Web.