Kip Turco, StackPath: On cloud computing ‘at the edge of the internet’

Kip Turco, StackPath: On cloud computing ‘at the edge of the internet’
Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

Edge Computing News caught up with StackPath CEO Kip Turco to discuss cloud computing “at the edge of the internet”.

We tapped Turco’s vast expertise to learn how edge cloud platforms like StackPath are delivering real-world advantages today while paving the way for exciting next-generation applications.

Edge Computing News: First off, can you give us a brief overview of StackPath’s core solutions?

Kip Turco: StackPath is a cloud computing platform at the edge of the internet, meaning the infrastructure and applications we provide are physically closer to end-users than hyperscale cloud providers’ services.

We have a full suite of solutions including StackPath edge compute – including Virtual Machines and Containers – and edge applications, including CDN and WAF. Our edge locations, where these solutions live, are strategically located in densely populated areas around the world and united by a single management system.

Thanks to our open, modular, scalable, and secure platform, customers ranging from a lone developer or one-person startup to some of the largest Fortune 50 enterprises trust StackPath to give their latency-sensitive workloads and applications the speed, security, and efficiency they require.

ECN: On average, what kind of latency benefits are converts from legacy cloud platforms experiencing when switching to StackPath?

KT: Traffic between a StackPath edge compute instance and an end-user can be up to 2.6x faster than that of core cloud compute hyperscalers provide.

Workload response times can benefit even more by having computing and edge applications like CDN and WAF within one platform with a private network backbone. That translates to significant advantages for a wide range of workloads, from online games and streaming media to video chat, blockchain, and security solutions.

ECN: EdgeRules is an interesting feature of your CDN. What does that enable your customers to do?

KT: Features like EdgeRules allow customers to play in traffic – but in a good way. With EdgeRules, a StackPath customer can take full control of how their content is delivered.

They can take advantage of our expertise and experience and utilize the EdgeRules we’ve created, or they can easily create their own customized EdgeRules to create a solution perfectly tailored to their individual needs.

This can cover common delivery control interests including forcing the use of HTTPS connections, blocking or redirecting a request by country or referrer, redirecting bots from the CDN to their origin, hiding headers to cut bandwidth requirements, and much more.

ECN: In what other ways can StackPath’s solutions be customised to an enterprise’s specific needs?

KT: Because StackPath is really a cloud computing platform, StackPath can be whatever an enterprise or developer needs it to be. We built our platform with four core values in mind: openness, modularity, scalability, and security.

Whereas a lot of edge computing offerings in the market today are function-as-a-service solutions connected to a CDN, we let enterprises deploy VMs and containers and run their own applications on them. Not to mention EdgeRules as described above, full APIs to integrate our solutions into customized workloads, and more.

Plus, we make it as easy as possible to efficiently scale from a few to thousands of instances in edge locations around the world so an enterprise can make the scale and footprint of their StackPath solution match their very own.

The options are endless and that’s the way we want it. We just built the platform – how customers use it and what they do with it is up to them.

ECN: How secure is an edge platform like StackPath compared to a traditional cloud platform?

KT: StackPath’s roots are in internet security. The company was formed six years ago with the idea of creating robust, inherently secure internet services. We came out of stealth already having acquired key security solutions such as Fireblade – a Web Application Firewall (WAF) solution – and Staminus, a DDoS mitigation solution.

There are many benefits of the edge, one being it’s generally more complex to bring down a distributed application than to bring down a centralized application—but having our own WAF and DDoS solution available to customers provides additional benefits over traditional cloud platforms.

And, earlier this year, we announced new WAF packages so businesses of any size can have the ease-of-use and advanced threat-detection capabilities that set the StackPath WAF apart in a package that cost-effectively meets their unique security, usage, and operations-management needs.

ECN: What applications is edge computing enabling that weren’t previously possible?

KT: Edge computing is enabling both new applications that weren’t previously possible, as well as supporting and driving the unprecedented growth and evolution of existing applications.

For instance, media streaming is not new. CDNs, the original edge computing solution, have been essential to its success from the beginning. But the ability to put computing at the edge – and not just caching – enables media companies to serve more people, more different types of devices, make user experiences far more personalized with content customization, and better monetize streaming services with localized advertising, and more. There were fewer than a handful of mainstream media streaming services five years ago, now there are dozens. The industry couldn’t support that without edge computing.

As for entirely new applications, we’re most interested in the entire blockchain and Web3 ecosystem. And it’s more than cryptocurrency. The whole point of blockchain is decentralization. Well, how decentralized is a solution that relies on processing in a limited number of giant data centres?

There are amazing Web3 applications right around the corner that will now be viable because they have access to decentralized infrastructure and the latency levels they need.

ECN: When should an enterprise consider deploying an edge cloud of their own?

KT: There’s a lot to unpack in that question. First off, our perspective is that edge computing and traditional cloud computing are complementary with each being suited to different use cases.

For many workloads, particularly those that don’t involve much data in motion, have monolithic architectures, and are stateful – a traditional cloud might be perfectly fine. But most new (or reworked) workloads are not monolithic, have at least some latency-sensitive aspects, and are highly stateless.

Enterprises with those workloads can find exceptional efficiency and performance gains by using edge or a combination of edge and cloud such as putting a workload’s latency-sensitive services or applications at the edge, seamlessly connected to components running in a core cloud.

Kip Turco will be sharing his invaluable insights at Edge Computing Expo North America. You can find out more about his presentation here. Swing by StackPath’s booth (#217) to learn more about their solutions.

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