Goodbye SPDY, Hello HTTP/2
The Chrome team at Google recently announced that they will be removing SPDY support from Chrome in early 2016. SPDY is an application layer protocol designed to improve the way that data is sent from web servers to clients. Depending on who you read, performance benefits ranged from a 2X speed increase down to negligible. Now, since here in March 2015 only 3.6% of websites were running SPDY, maybe the end of SPDY isn’t such big news, especially since SPDY is being replaced by HTTP/2. The HTTP/2 protocol is on the way to standardization, has pretty much all of the benefits of SPDY and will undoubtedly become the standard for web traffic moving forward.
All of this is great, unless you are the one who is tasked with reconfiguring or re-implementing your server estate to switch form SPDY to HTTP/2. Fortunately, for those F5 customers who implemented SPDY using the SPDY gateway feature in BIG-IP LTM, switching to HTTP/2 is easy. TMOS 11.6 ships with HTTP/2 support – we’ve cautiously labeled this as ‘for testing’ – after all the protocol has only just been finalized. All you need to do is configure an HTTP/2 profile and apply it to your Virtual Server, and (where clients are HTTP/2 capable) you are serving HTTP/2 – it’s about 10 minutes work. This also give you a way to offer HTTP/2 support without changing your HTTP/1.x backend, which is handy because, based on the evidence of IE6, old web browsers can take a decade or more to die. In fact, maybe I should get my patent lodged for software to connect aging browsers to the next generation of web infrastructure?