About Fastly's Origin Shielding features
Last updated July 06, 2016
When configuring Fastly's CDN Service during the self-provisioning process, customers can choose an "origin shield" as a specific point of presence (POP) designated to host cached content from their servers. This server is referred to as a "shield" because it protects a customer's application servers from continuous requests for content.
Customers can designate a specific POP to serve as a "shield" for their origin servers. If Fastly's caches do not have the content being requested, they fetch it from the shield server instead of the customer's origin servers. Fastly caches fetch content from a customer's origin server only when the shield server does not have the content being requested.
Customers can designate multiple servers as their origin servers. When two or more application servers are provisioned as origin servers, Fastly's CDN Service will distribute fetch requests for content across those application servers using the round-robin method of distribution. This type of load balancing is enabled by default; customers must explicitly disable it.
Customers have the option to configure Fastly's CDN Service to perform health checks on their application servers and measure their responsiveness. Health checks are not enabled by default; the customer must specifically enable them. Customers can use health check responsiveness measurements to fine-tune the distribution of fetch requests. Request collapsing is enabled by default.
Cached content sometimes must be refreshed when that content becomes "stale" or expires. When multiple end users request cached content that is in the process of being refreshed from origin servers, request collapsing groups those requests to be satisfied together. This protects customer application servers by keeping Fastly's CDN Service from sending duplicate requests to the origin information.
When an application server becomes unavailable for any reason, end users will normally receive error messages indicating the content they've requested cannot be retrieved. When enabled, grace mode shields application servers by instructing Fastly's CDN Service to continue to serve stale or expired (but likely still valid) content to end users for a set amount of time. This allows customers to return otherwise unavailable application servers to normal operations and still serve content rather than error messages to end users. By default, grace mode is not configured. Customers must specifically configure their service to serve stale content.
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