Today we’re announcing the rollout of Virtual Earth to the Content Delivery Network (a part of Microsoft's Edge Computing Network). What does this mean? Well, Virtual Earth has historically been in a single data center serving up all these billions of tile images (and the AJAX map control) which service our mapping platforms including the AJAX map control, Silverlight Map Control, Virtual Earth Web Service and 3D Managed Control. Now, we’ve deployed the Virtual Earth map tiles and AJAX control to geographically dispersed data centers that provide global load balancing which means you’ll get your Virtual Earth tiles and AJAX control from the data center that is closest to you – no more waiting for tiles to come from Virginia.

Here’s official communication that went to our customers and developers today:

Get Virtual Earth Content Faster through the New Content Delivery Network

Today, Microsoft® is pleased to introduce a new performance improvement for the Virtual Earth platform – the Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Microsoft CDN is a key pillar of the Microsoft cloud computing strategy and is one of the primary investments the Virtual Earth team is making to increase overall platform performance.

CDN is composed of multiple geo-distributed data centers (throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia) that allow Virtual Earth to host content closer to customers and end users.

As a result of CDN, delivery speeds of Virtual Earth content have been improved up to 82 percent for both the Virtual Earth AJAX Map Control and Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control. This first release is part of an on-going program that will expand the network later this year.

To begin utilizing CDN, you will need to make an opt-in, non-breaking change to your AJAX map control code; no action is required for Silverlight Map Control users, as CDN logic is already built-in. Given the significant performance benefits of CDN, it will be the preferred method of accessing Virtual Earth content.

For details on implementing CDN for the Virtual Earth AJAX Map Control, please visit the associated documentation on MSDN.

A simple changing of the Virtual Earth .ashx pointer and you’re on your way. The CDN will continue to grow over time - we have some big plans rolling out over the next year. So, with the last release of the AJAX control and the 3D control, plus the roll out of the Silverlight Map Control and now we’re coming online with ECN/CDN I’m guessing whatever performance issues certain people have complained about in the past and decided to invest elsewhere have all but gone away. We welcome you back when you’re ready.

CP