Configanator: A Data-driven Approach to Improving CDN Performance.


Usama Naseer and Theophilus A. Benson, Brown University


The web serving protocol stack is constantly evolving to tackle the technological shifts in networking infrastructure and website complexity. As a result of this evolution, web servers can use a plethora of protocols and configuration parameters to address a variety of realistic network conditions. Yet, today, despite the significant diversity in end-user networks and devices, most content providers have adopted a “one-size-fits-all” approach to configuring the networking stack of their user-facing web servers (or at best employ moderate tuning).

In this paper, we demonstrate that the status quo results in sub-optimal performance and argue for a novel framework that extends existing CDN architectures to provide programmatic control over a web server’s configuration parameters. We designed a data-driven framework, Configanator, that leverages data across connections to identify their network and device characteristics, and learn the optimal configuration parameters to improve end-user performance. We evaluate Configanator on five traces, including one from a global content provider, and evaluate the performance improvements for real users through two live deployments. Our results show that Configanator improves tail (p95) web performance by 32-67% across diverse websites and networks.

NSDI '22 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {276982,
author = {Usama Naseer and Theophilus A. Benson},
title = {Configanator: A Data-driven Approach to Improving {CDN} Performance.},
booktitle = {19th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 22)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-27-4},
address = {Renton, WA},
pages = {1135--1158},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = apr,

Presentation Video