Carfax Accelerates Data Delivery to Meet Demand

To keep up with growing consumer demand Carfax upgraded from traditional load balancing technology to next-generation application delivery controllers to accelerate performance, cut data center costs and boost capacity over existing infrastructure.

As the most trusted provider of vehicle history information, CARFAX is used by millions of buyers and sellers each year to research used cars and light trucks. As demand for used vehicle information rapidly increases, so do the number of visitors to Carfax.com. To better manage the load and ensure fast, reliable delivery of vehicle data, CARFAX recently upgraded from traditional load balancing technology to next-generation application delivery controllers (ADCs) to accelerate performance, cut data center costs and boost capacity over existing infrastructure.

The economy has tightened the belts of car shoppers and many are opting for pre-owned vehicles over new models to save money. To make sure they're getting a reliable vehicle, millions of used car buyers turn to CARFAX for a Vehicle History Report before making their final purchase decision.

CARFAX provides convenient, fast and dependable information and is one of the top five Web Sites that consumers rely upon for vehicle information. With just the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN), used car buyers and sellers have access to all the information reported to CARFAX for a specific car or light truck with a model year 1981 or later.

Last year, Carfax.com logged nearly 80 million visits for access to our database of more than seven billion records. Meanwhile, our data centers underwent server installations and refreshes about a dozen times a day.

Reputation for Service Fuels High Demand

We've staked our business on the delivery of fast, dependable access to valuable data about used cars. With Web Site traffic growing at a rapid pace, alongside the demand for used cars and consumers' tendency to turn to the Web for nearly all of their needs, managing traffic and reducing network connection has become a mission-critical priority. Like so many other information services, performance, scalability and reliability are essential to our success.

To manage this enormous data model while accommodating traffic growth, CARFAX maintains nearly a dozen data centers across the country. With the traditional load balancers used to distribute load among the many servers in each data center nearing the end of their useful life, we began looking for a new way to accelerate and streamline our overall Web application infrastructure. We had simply outgrown the old technology that we felt could no longer effectively support the 50 to 100 million annual visits and close to a dozen data center installations and upgrades we handle each day.

Looking Beyond Load Balancers

We found the solution to meet our needs in the form of next-generation ADCs. An ADC not only balances load between different servers and data centers, but it also offloads processes from servers, including TCP management and SSL encryption and decryption. It became clear that replacing the outdated load balancers with advanced ADCs could dramatically accelerate data delivery performance, reduce our data center costs and boost available capacity in the existing infrastructure.

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