May 17, 2020

Why are Google’s founders stepping down for Sundar Pichai?

Cloud
Digital Transformation
William Smith
2 min
Google has announced that its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are standing down from their roles at parent company Alphabet
Google has announced that its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are standing down from their roles at parent company Alphabet.

Page’s role as Al...

Google has announced that its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are standing down from their roles at parent company Alphabet.

Page’s role as Alphabet CEO will be assumed by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, who will also retain his current role, while Brin’s position as President will be abolished. Page and Brin will both remain on the board, however, and retain control of 51% of the voting rights, suggesting a soft transition of power as opposed to a coronation.

Alphabet was created as part of a 2015 restructure, with the aim being for Google to focus on its core services while projects the company refers to as “Other Bets” (such as Waymo’s autonomous cars) would fall under the Alphabet umbrella. The reunification of the leadership of Google and Alphabet is addressed by the two, who wrote in a blog post that it was “the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company.”

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Pichai, who assumed the role at the formation of Alphabet, is Indian-born, and has worked at the company since 2004 across products such as Chrome and Drive. Since becoming CEO, he has acted as Alphabet group’s most outwardly facing figure, with Brin and Page assuming a more background role. It’s a theme they apparently hope to continue, with the two saying in their blog post that they “believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents” (albeit parents with majority voting rights).

They might well be proud, having taken Google/Alphabet from a search engine called Backrub, to a Californian garage, to the world’s 17th largest public company (there may have been some other steps along the way). Pichai will now assume control of the company as it embarks upon projects such as the acquisition of Fitbit and the ongoing support of its Stadia cloud gaming service.

(Image: Google)

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Jun 8, 2021

Fastly's CDN Reportedly to Blame for Global Internet Outage

Technology
Fastly
servers
websites
Tilly Kenyon & Oliver James Fr...
3 min
Multiple outages have hit social media, government, and news websites across the globe

A huge outage has brought down a number of major websites around the world. Among those affected are gov.uk, Hulu, PayPal, Vimeo, and news outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC, and Financial Times.

It is thought a glitch at Fastly ─ a popular CDN provider ─ is causing the worldwide issue. Fastly has confirmed it’s facing an outage on its status website but fails to specify a reason for the fault ─ only that the problem isn’t limited to a single data centre and, instead, is a “global CDN disruption” that is potentially affecting the company’s global network.

“We’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services,” the firm said.

What is Fastly?

Fastly is a content delivery network (CDN) company that helps users view digital content more quickly. The company also provides security, video delivery, and so-called edge computing services. They use strategically distributed, highly performant POPs to help move data and applications closer to users and deliver up-to-date content quickly.

The firm has been proving increasingly popular among leading media websites. After going public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019, shares rose exponentially in price, but after today’s outages, Fastly’s value has taken a sharp 5.21% fall and are currently trading at US$48.06. 

What are CDNs?

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a web of small computers, or servers, that link together to collaborate as a single computer. CDNs improve the performance of internet-connected devices by placing these servers as close as possible to the people using those devices in different locations, creating hundreds of points of presence, otherwise known as POPs.

They help minimise delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. This helps users around the world view the same high-quality content without slow loading times. 

Without a CDN, content origin servers must respond to every single end-user request. This results in significant traffic to the origin and subsequent load, thereby increasing the chances for origin failure if the traffic spikes are exceedingly high or if the load is persistent.

The Risk of CDNs

Over time, developers have attempted to protect users from the dangers of overreliance through the implementation of load balancing, DDoS (Denial of Service) protection, web application firewalls, and a myriad of other security features. 

Clearly, by the state of today’s major website outage, these measures aren’t enough. Evidently, CDNs present a risk factor that is widely underestimated ─ which needs to be rectified with haste. Content delivery networks have become a key part of the global infrastructure, and so it’s imperative that organisations start to figure out risk mitigation strategies to protect companies reliant on the interconnected service from further disruption and disarray. 

Over the coming days, both Technology Magazine and Data Centre Magazine will continue to provide updates on the current situation as developments are made.

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