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I'm developing an application that relies on an API that is very time-sensitive. Every millisecond advantage I have over my competitors the better.

Is there a good way to determine the optimal webhost/data centre choice for my application short of getting accounts at various hosts and testing?

To complicate this particular situation further the API I am targeting is behind a CDN/DDos protection service with various endpoint locations. So, as far as I can tell pings only measure the time to the endpoint not the roundtrip to the machine hosting the API itself.

I have some guesses but do not know where the API is hosted. And if I did, would the right choice of host be located at the CDN endpoint closest to the API machine?

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The CDN endpoint is all that you can target here, because anything that happens behind the CDN is really out of your control (unless you can actually query the API server directly, which would negate their having a CDN). If the CDN is also geographically optimised, it should automatically route you to the endpoint closest to you so the hosting difference is negligible.

If it doesn't (or doesn't do it well), your best bet is to use a host that is geographically closest to the CDN endpoint.

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  • Thanks for your answer. I think this means that I'll test hosting close to two or three endpoints to see what works best. May 6, 2014 at 4:33
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Are you working on financial data? I know for sure that when you get access to financial data API, you can request their support to get the best hosting solution, best being most probably collocated solutions where your servers are in the same data center, or better, same racks as theirs. However, that comes at a price.

Could you be more specific on what kind of data you're working with, why it is millisecond sensitive, and maybe who's your provider? That may help tailor a more targeted answer...

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  • Sort of. It's crypto-currency trading related. Interesting to know that you can do this with financial data though. I don't think Crypto is at that point yet. One day. May 6, 2014 at 4:30
  • So you're arbitraging bitcoins... As far as I know, there is no good realtime bitcoin API provider. The closest I can think of was MtGox API V2, which is quite good, but no provider guarantees realtime access, or SLA over access time. Plus your transactions will have to be signed to get processed, which is community process, and therefore not guaranteed to operate under deterministic time. Your best bet is then to ask politely to your providers (you'll have at least 2), where are their machins located, and try to be in between or at the slowest provider's datacenter. May 7, 2014 at 9:07
  • Cryptsy recently released a slightly improved data stream via pusher.com, but that's part of my problem. Pusher appears to be AWS-East hosted while Cryptsy is behind Incapsula but hosted in Florida. Hence my dilemma. May 11, 2014 at 5:12

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