Filestack reverses the concept of the CDN to offer lightning fast file uploads globally

There’s no point having great download speeds if the data can’t make its way onto the internet quickly.

Woman working in network room

Filestack is a modular service that developers use to include file uploading into their applications. Much like Stripe enables mobile payments, and Twilio enables communications, Filestack allows software developers to integrate more than 25 social networks and cloud drives with just a few lines of code. 

End users can upload content from websites and mobile apps like Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox -- or wherever their content is stored. Filestack enables developers to upload and store large files, transform and manipulate images and other file types, and deliver that content with blazing speed, responsively, across any type of desktop or mobile device.

All of which is really useful, but unfortunately relies on stuff seemingly out of Filestack's control -- in particular the speed of the public internet. There’s little point in offering a service that is easy to integrate and use if a network bottleneck renders it painfully slow.

Which is the reason that Filestack is today announcing a new content ingestion network aimed at helping developers increase their upload speeds. The globally distributed network of storage containers is essentially a reverse CDN and, since developers have been using CDNs for years, Filestack believes that the content ingestion network (CIN) concept is one that they’ll readily take to.

Filestack’s CIN leverages its existing globally distributed network of points-of-presence (POPs). The company currently has 10 storage POPs and promises to increase that to 20. In use, using the CIN, developers do not have to wait until the file is stored in its final destination before using it in their applications. Upon upload, the file is stored in the nearest Filestack storage POP, and a file URL called a filelink is generated for use. While the filelink is in use, the original file uploads asynchronously to its final destination. Once the file is stored in its final destination, the filelink automatically adjusts to point to the permanent cloud storage location.

According to Filestack, the CIN has been proven to successfully increase upload speeds. Using regular methods for uploading files, a small file (~3MB) can take up to 12 seconds to upload. With the Filestack CIN, this upload time is reduced to under 1 second. Larger files (~100MB) can take over 60 seconds to upload normally. However, with the Filestack CIN, they are accelerated to only 6 to 9 seconds depending on the region.  

Of course this file upload issue is an important one -- according to the latest Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends report, there are now 3.25 billion photos shared per day on the five most popular social media sites, with over 18 billion video views per day on Facebook and Snapchat alone. The ability to upload and manage content with speed, security and reliability has never been more important for a web developer.


The CIN sounds like a useful and valuable offering, but I do wonder about the relatively low number of POPs that Filestack offers. Even with the growth to 20 POPs, there is still a significant geographic distance to span. Given the relatively economical impacts of rolling out further POPs, I believe the CIN would be more compelling with far higher numbers of POPs.

That will, no doubt, come with time -- and, for the moment, the CIN is a positive tool for developers.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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