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Introducing TurboBytes Pulse

Published on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 by Aaron

TurboBytes Pulse agent

Is DNS working correctly everywhere for your domains? Are your servers and CDNs serving the desired responses? Are your users taking efficient network paths to your sites and apps?
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TurboBytes Pulse enables you to easily & quickly collect DNS, HTTP(S) and Traceroute responses from computers around the world. Most of these 'agents' are connected to consumer ISP networks. Pulse is free and open-source !

How Pulse works

Pulse is a collection of test machines (we call these agents) and the CNC, the command and control center. Users send a test request to the CNC and agents are then instructed to run the test and send back the results. All communication between the CNC and the agents happens encrypted over TLS.
Learn more about the DNS, HTTP and Traceroute tests in the Pulse FAQ.

Currently tests can only be initiated from the Pulse website, but soon (end of June 2015) we’ll release the API to TurboBytes customers and everybody who hosts an agent.

Pulse currently has 20+ agents, including in San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, New York, Manchester, Goteborg, Utrecht, Taipei and Sydney. New agents come online every week and we expect to grow to 100 agents within a few months.

TurboBytes Pulse locations map

Why we developed Pulse

Pulse is built primarily as a service to our Multi-CDN customers: enable them to quickly find out if the CDNs are behaving correctly everywhere.
For example: a TurboBytes customer receives an email from a website visitor about not being able to load the site. Some questions that will come to mind are: is the CDN completely failing in that user’s country? Is it failing everywhere? Is one particular file not served correctly? Pulse makes it easy to quickly get those questions answered and gain insight in the behavior of the CDNs at that time.

The secondary purpose of Pulse is internal: as a Multi-CDN provider, we need a way to know when new and updated configs have provisioned globally across all the CDN POPs. If the API of CDN X tells us provisioning is done, has it then really completed across all their POPs? We’ve found out it’s best to run some verification checks against all POPs …

So why did we build our own? Couldn’t we have better integrated with an existing service like Pingdom or Catchpoint? We had two good reasons to build Pulse:

  • Real-World: we don’t want to test from datacenters, but from homes and offices connected to consumer ISP networks. That is where your users are, right?
  • Control: we have strong views on what Pulse must be able to do and what not.

Future

Pulse is a baby and will grow to maturity over time. We have big plans set out for our new precious !

More agents

Brasil, Spain, Hong Kong, Israel, South Africa. These are just a few countries where we will have Pulse agents soon. Our goal is to have at least one agent connected to each of the top 5 consumer ISP networks in all major countries. In the United States, agents will live in many states. Just one agent on Comcast is not enough, right?
Do you want to have full access to all of Pulse? Host an agent!

API

We always build the API first and then interfaces on top of it, so the Pulse API already exists. Giving users access to Pulse via API is high on our todo list, but we first need to polish a bit and implement things like key management, rate limiting and queueing. We expect to have the API ready in June.
Important: API access is a feature we will make available only to TurboBytes customers and Pulse agent hosts. Everybody else can use Pulse freely via the Web ui at pulse.turbobytes.com.

Features

We don’t want to tell you everything, but lots of good and useful things are coming to Pulse. Something is currently in the making for HTTP/2 …
Stay tuned via @TurboBytesPulse on Twitter.

We always welcome your thoughts, ideas and feedback. Please share below in the comments section or send an email to pulse@turbobytes.com.

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