Chapter 2, US CDNs vs European CDNs


CDN feature-set innovation has reached a major milestone in the last 12 months. The quality and quantity of the features being developed and rolled is dramatic, and the innovation gap between standard CDNs and innovation-based CDNS has widened significantly. Five years ago, features like DSA, ADN and  FEO were “killer” disruptive features. Now, these killer features last only months, as it is very likely that other CDNs have more innovative features in the hopper.  Even the CDN veterans who have been working in the industry for a long time are having a difficult time understanding the current CDN environment.

There are two schools of thought in the CDN Ecosystem: one is a group of CDN folks that think about CDN in terms of caching, streaming, HLS, HDS, rule engine, basic security, and so on. The other school of thought are those that think in terms of the extended security feature set (eg., FireEye, Palo Alto, Bromium), SDN, NFV, and so on. Early in the year, we were of the first school of thought. Thereafter, when we interviewed the founders of many CDNs, we changed our mindset into the latter school of thought. Today’s CDN is much more than the CDN of yesterday.  The industry has reached the point where it is almost on par with the innovation of the pure-play security companies like Thetaray, Fortscale and BioCatch. Thetaray and Biocatch are the benchmark of innovation for the entire technology industry. They are the FireEye’s and Palo Alto Networks of tomorrow.

What makes us qualified to make such a bold claim? On February 27, 2014, we discovered and wrote about a cool cyber security company called Aorato that got $10M in VC (total raised = $11M). Low and behold, eight months later Microsoft acquired them for $200M. Did we get lucky in our prediction? No, it’s not rocket science -if someone does enough research on an sector and its players, you kind of see the writing on the wall.


European Pure-Play CDNs

Now its time for the European Pure-play CDNs to catch up to their US counterparts in the innovation business. KeyCDN, CDN77, CDNify, Leaseweb and others need to step it up, and come out with something that hasn’t been done before. They’ve had six months of practice with their current business models, and in six months we need to see something refreshing. European CDNs must be leaders in the ecosystem, not just followers of US based CDNs. Can European CDNs explode the CDN business model more than it is today and create some chaos? Absolutely.

The world understands that FFMpeg, Varnish, Linux, and other disruptive technologies came from Europe. And most of all, lets not forget about Docker, the revolutionary “container” based technology that is about to change the world of virtualization. Docker came from an SE (Sales Engineer) who worked at SmartJob in France, that was developed in a basement. SmartJog, which is now Arkena is a cool company, especially since I worked there previously.

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