notable is the gateway used by the default Silk browser on the Amazon Kindle
Fire tablet2; Silk proxies much of a
user’s Web traffic through an Amazon
SPDY gateway deployed on the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure.
Other examples are content-delivery-network/Web-acceleration providers
Contendo1 and Strangeloop, 26 both
offering SPDY gateways as a service to
HTTP content providers.
Device-specific SPDY gateways. Amazon’s decision to couple the Kindle
Fire Silk browser to its own proprietary SPDY-based gateway begs the
question: Could, and will, other major
providers do the same? Could there
be, say, an Apple SPDY gateway for
iPhones and iPads or a Google SPDY
gateway for Android devices in the future? Could such gateways be in the
works already? The potential performance advantage of SPDY gateways
is particularly intriguing on such resource-constrained mobile devices.
The controlled “appliancized” nature
of the devices and their operating
systems would also simplify vendor
implementation. Aside from offering faster browsing as a selling point,
Amazon and other potential vendors
are likely interested in the data mining and advertising opportunities that
come with controlling the gateway.
Open SPDY gateways. Beyond device-specific gateways lies uncharted
though potentially lucrative territory—open SPDY gateways—that, like
an open proxy, are usable by anyone,
independent of device or platform.
Major Web companies have demonstrated that free and universal services
can be made profitable through related targeted advertising opportunities.
So, could SPDY gateways be turned
into another free, universal service
rendered profitable through better-targeted advertising?
A limitation Web advertisers face
today is a restricted view of user activi-
ty on domains beyond their direct con-
trol. A SPDY gateway provides a van-
tage point from which to observe all
of a user’s Web activity, not just on do-
mains under the advertiser’s control.
Major Web companies like Facebook
and Google track users across the Web
on third-party sites through partner
advertising scripts and other embed-
dable features (such as the “Like” but-
ton), but the picture is incomplete.
An open SPDY gateway would provide
advertisers missing pieces from the
browsing-behavior puzzle that could
be fed back into targeted-advertising
algorithms. While much the same
could be done using device-specific
SPDY gateways, an open SPDY gate-
way would provide insight into a much
larger user population. Interesting to
consider therefore is whether SPDY
gateways (much like search) could
become a universal service accessible
through a broad range of devices.
SPDY is a high-performance application-layer protocol and potential
successor to HTTP. Clients have been
quick to adopt it, though server implementations lag. SPDY gateways are
helping accelerate SPDY adoption by
removing the need for SPDY support
on the server. A range of compelling
incentives exists for deploying SPDY
gateways that are only beginning to
be explored. Beyond just a transition
strategy, SPDY gateways have performance characteristics that make
them attractive for longer-term use.
Whether such long-term advantages
compared to SPDY support on the
server are substantial enough to warrant retaining SPDY gateways is an
This work is supported in part by an
Australian Government Australian
Postgraduate Awards scholarship and
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Office of
the Chief Executive scholarship. The
authors would also like to thank the
anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.
1. Akamai. Akamai Acquires Contendo. Press Release,
mar. 2012; http://www.akamai.com/cotendo
2. Amazon. Amazon Silk FAqs; http://www.amazon.com/
3. Amazon. Introducing Amazon Silk; http://amazonsilk.
4. Belshe, m. SPd Y on google servers?
Jan. 2011; https://groups.google.com/
5. Belshe, m. SSL: It’s a matter of life and death. mike’s
Lookout blog, may 28, 2011; http://www.belshe.
6. Belshe, m. and Peon, R. A 2x faster Web. The
Chromium Blog, Nov. 11, 2009; http://blog.chromium.
7. Belshe, m. and Peon, R. SPd Y Protocol. Chromium
Projects, Feb. 2012; http://dev.chromium.org/spdy/
Bryce Thomas ( email@example.com) is a Ph.d.
candidate in the discipline of Information Technology at
James Cook University, Townsville, queensland, Australia.
Raja Jurdak ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a researcher in
the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Organisation and a professor in the University of
queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Ian Atkinson ( email@example.com) is a professor
and director of the eResearch Centre of James Cook
University, Townsville, queensland, Australia.