Amazon Cloudfront continues to innovate, and grow their CDN business steadily. A few years ago, Cloudfront was in a position to challenge the big three CDNs, Akamai, EdgeCast, and Limelight. However, that conversation has now been put to rest. At this time, the CDN market is only able to support three large scale CDNs, and many highly specialized CDNs. What is a large scale CDN? A CDN that generates $100M+ in annual sales, has 10,000 servers in deployment, 1000+ customers, offers the entire CDN feature stack, and generates annual sales of $10,000+ per customer per year.
The Identity of Amazon Cloudfront
Who does Cloudfront resemble most? In my view, Cloudfront is like Internap. I’m changing my earlier position that put CloudFlare and Cloudfront in the same bucket, since CloudFlare proved otherwise. Cloudfront and Internap are similar to each other in many respects including their business models, feature set, and ideal target customer. Cloudfront and Internap are best suited for their existing cloud compute and cloud storage customer, where customers click the CDN option box, and add CDN services to a plate of cloud services. My belief is that in 2014, the entire CDN startup ecosystem is going to distance itself further from Cloudfront, through the specialization of services.
Fastly, Yottaa, Incapsula, Instart Logic, Aryaka Networks, MaxCDN, Cloudflare and others are ushering a new era of CDN specialization. That means that these CDNs are investing their resources in creating an innovative feature stack that makes them the best in one area, or few areas of services. Aryaka is the global leader in WAN as-a-service. Incapsula is a leader in CyberSecurity. Instart Logic is the best in web application streaming. Yottaa leads the way in user engagement targeting CMO’s. Specialization is the best route to go that is likely to result in high dollar valuations. These specialized CDN services are fragmenting the CDN market, enabling customers to shop for highly specialized CDN functionality. The CDN industry is a mature market, and specialization is the way to go.