If you’re a scientist or engineer, you’re probably familiar with National Instruments — the world’s premier vendor of automated testing and measurement tools. The company’s lineup of software and modular hardware is used for everything from circuit design to biomedical research. With so many customers that work in mission-critical environments, National Instruments (NI) needs an online presence that instills trust and confidence.
National Instruments is no stranger to complexity, but one of its chief difficulties stemmed from a relatively straightforward task: file downloads.
As with many modern software distributors, National Instruments gives customers a way to download applications directly from its website, with predictably large file sizes. But few cache operators can properly handle downloads this large, and the vendor NI had been using was regularly aging out these files from its cache.
In turn, much of NI’s download traffic was being routed to its origin server in Austin, Texas for customers around the globe — with suboptimal results. Reports of slow download speeds streamed into NI’s support desk; even employees located in the company’s regional offices noticed slowdowns.
These complaints were especially concerning because of the way they reflected on the business more broadly. As NI Infrastructure Architect Robert Cope puts it, “Given the technical nature of our business, if we can't do something "this simple" right, why would they buy our highly technical products?”
It was time to look elsewhere for a solution.
As a global company with over a billion dollars in annual revenue, switching CDN providers isn’t something National Instruments took lightly. NI’s infrastructure team deployed monitoring points around the globe to benchmark five competitive services, with special attention given to their ability to handle large file sizes. After a rigorous process — spanning everything from customer support to performance to price — Cloudflare came out on top.
In addition to Cloudflare’s CDN, National Instruments also enabled performance-enhancing features like Argo Smart Routing — with compelling results. Since switching to Cloudflare, the number of customer complaints about download performance has dwindled to a trickle, and the NI team is exploring additional ways to leverage Cloudflare’s product portfolio.
• National Instruments struggled to deliver large file downloads to its customers, despite having a CDN.
• By moving to Cloudflare, NI was able to dramatically improve download speeds, including in China.
• Cloudflare Workers enable NI to customize its setup and iterate quickly on new improvements.
• Argo Smart Routing further enhances NI's performance.
“In our testing, Cloudflare delivered the fastest worldwide performance, and they worked with us to ensure our large files would be delivered as quickly as possible.”
Infrastructure Architect, National Instruments