CenturyLink Introduces CDN Edge Computing

CenturyLink has been busy lately. The top two announcements coming from the company: 1) they’re now focused on edge computing and 2) the acquisition of Streamroot. If we put certain pieces of the puzzle together we can see a strategy play out.   

CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey stated on the latest earnings call their intent in building out its edge computing capabilities. As part of this strategy, they’ll invest hundreds of millions of dollars in network infrastructure to supports its edge computing initiatives. He also mentioned that more announcements regarding its edge computing efforts will be forthcoming in the following weeks.   

And not only is CenturyLink as a whole focused on edge computing but so is the CDN (division). CenturyLink CDN is the latest vendor in our industry to jump into CDN Edge Computing. They join an elite group of providers that are leading the efforts in developing high-volume data ingest, processing, storage, and delivery capabilities at the edge. CenturyLink joins the innovation-driven Cloudflare, Fastly, Section, and StackPath in this emerging sector. That brings the total to five. In order to belong to this group of category leaders, a transformational pivot to edge computing must take place, which all have done.

Now we throw in the piece of CenturyLink acquiring Streamroot, an emerging leader in peer-to-peer WebRTC video streaming and Multi-CDN (CDN load balancer), we can deduce that CenturyLink is investing in its CDN. And we’re likely to see more CDN activity in the future. 

Edge Computing Model  

The edge computing model is the ideal solution for developers interested in building applications that live at the edge of the network. The traditional CDN model is inadequate to support cloud native applications due to its stateless (no edge database) nature. On the other hand, the CDN edge computing model supports feature-rich, dynamic cloud applications where maintaining state is a requirement. The one key differentiator for CenturyLink – they own the underlying network infrastructure including the PoPs, the fiber network connecting the PoPs, and the last-mile network present in many US cities. 

Background  

CenturyLink acquired Level 3 in November 2017. Included in the acquisition was the Level 3 CDN, a popular media-based CDN that counts the largest media companies as customers. Level 3 was also known for having an extensive network footprint in LatAm, a well known global network, and Vyvx. Vyvx is a leading video network used by media companies and sports organizations to deliver broadcast videos such as the Super Bowl, Oscars, and Grammys to US audiences.

Takeaway

Once CenturyLink publishes all the announcements regarding its edge computing initiatives, we’ll revisit and try to measure the impact to our industry.