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How Akamai works in SAP Cloud for Customers

SAP uses its partner Akamai to speed the delivery of web content to our customers using IP acceleration and edge caching, which entails storing replicas of static text, image, audio, and video content in multiple servers around the “edges” of the internet, so that user requests can be served by a nearby edge server rather than by a far-off origin server.

 

The Challenge

The perception is that it is really simple to get to your data over the Internet.

The reality is that the users are constantly connected on multiple types of devices over different types of networks to different kind of applications and still expect a consistent experience. The problem is that the native internet is not efficient, and it doesn’t offer a straight path to connect to the content.

The Solution

Cloud for Customers uses a product from our partner company Akamai to accelerate the traffic over the Internet. This product relies on the Geolocation of the External (or forwarder) DNS server to provide an entry point (or Edge Server) to the Akamai network, finding the best route from the user to the SAP Datacenter where the customer’s tenant is located. In order to take full advantage of this feature, it is required that the DNS server and the user are in the same geographical area.

How Akamai works

  1. End-User Machine ask it’s local DNS server to translate hostname to IP address
  2. Internal DNS server forwards request to central, non-local DNS (forwarder) server for translation
  3. The External DNS resolves against the Akamai Name Server, which identifies the closest Akamai edge server to external DNS Server
  4. End-User Machine contacts the Akamai Edge server and request content
  5. Akamai uses it’s private high-speed network to connect to another Edge Server near the Host.
  6. Edge host requests content form host’s servers

 

Customer with multiple office and independent internet exits will find the closest Akamai Edge server to the end user location.

 

What can affect Akamai?

DNS configuration:

A common problem is where the end-user connects to an External DNS server which is located in a different geographical region to resolve DNS queries, in those cases the DNS server will resolve the Cloud for Customer tenant DNS name to IP close to the External DNS server but not necessarily to the user having a long last mile between the Akamai Edge server and the end user, examples are where a user from Europe is trying to access a SAP Cloud for Customer tenant in Europe and is using a DNS server in America, in that case the user from Europe will communicate with an Edge Server in America forcing the user to connect from Europe to the Akamai server in America to then connect to the SAP Cloud for Customers tenant in Europe, causing considerable network overhead. One method on how to identify if the DNS resolution and TCP routing is happening under the same region is explained in this blog

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