The New Innovation Driven Akamai

Akamai is going through a major transformation of sorts, mainly in the innovation department. Not that they were ever behind, but they have now gone to market with a whole new slate of feature-sets, including one which is tailored to the Network and Mobile Operator industry. Their strategy for Operators is based on a new Akamai SDN / NFV architecture. Akamai’s NFV story is the strongest yet of any CDN, mainly because its the only CDN that has a full suite of services that plays well with Network Operators. Although Akamai’s Operator solution is for Network Operators today, in the future it’s going to cross over into other enterprise sectors. With this new strategy, Akamai has declared war on multiple segments and companies including:

  • Pure-play CDN Start-ups
  • Cisco and Juniper
  • Cloud Providers: AWS and Azure

Akamai has partnered with BT, HP and Intel in creating a proof of concept where Akamai virtualized its CDN infrastructure, specifically created a software layer of its caching platform and deployed it on bare-metal commodity hardware. By doing so, Akamai has become part of the bare-metal commodity hardware paradigm. In addition, it has joined Cisco and IBM as a major force in the SDN + NFV market. Is Akamai going to war with AWS and Azure? Some day they will. There are three pillars to Cloud Services: 1) Compute 2) Storage and 3) Delivery. While Amazon, Microsoft and Google fight the ferocious “sub-penny wars” of compute and storage, Akamai is alone in the delivery pillar.

Akamai’s dominance is highlighted by the fact that they can charge premium fees for its services. In addition, Akamai’s 161,000+ severs (and growing) spread across thousands of PoPs gives them the benefit that it can flick the “on switch” and go to war with Amazon and Azure in the compute and storage segments it wishes to do so, especially now that it’s getting its feet wet in the  SDN / NFV space. The one way Akamai can differentiate itself from AWS is by offering compute + storage services at the CDN Edge / Network Edge. Since Amazon doesn’t have the global network footprint of Akamai, it is at a disadvantage.  The CDN Industry is no longer about CDN in a silo, the CDN industry is cloud security + compute + storage at the CDN Edge.

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