CDN Ecosystem in Q1 2022


It’s been a few years since our last CDN Ecosystem diagram was published. Its purpose is to illustrate the competitive landscape of our complex, highly interconnected ecosystem. After all, what is the CDN, if not a mini-AWS model that provides multiple products in content delivery, edge computing, cloud security, and video streaming?

In our industry, the CDNs are the center of the universe. Our segment is rich and diverse. Some startups provide competing services while others compliment them.

Based on our observations, the two hottest niches are API Security and Database-as-a-Service. In addition, we’ll look at the database sector in the future.

API Security Startups

Has anyone heard of Salt, Noname, or Cequence? These three startups have raised a combined ~$600M and have valuations in the billion-plus range. And that’s only three of the several out there.

Diagram Summary

  • Kubernetes: Akamai (Linode) and StackPath provide containers and VMs at the edge. It would be interesting to see if Akamai acquires a startup like Rafay Systems to beef up its orchestration capabilities.
  • Object Storage: Object storage has been around for more than a decade. Akamai offers NetStorage, EdgeCast sold it from year one, etc. However, Cloudflare has taken it to another level-they offer it (key-value) as a complementary product to their FaaS (Workers) service.
  • JAMStack: This segment went from niche to mainstream. Vercel is now worth more than some CDNs. Cloudflare built a competing product. Fastly and Akamai have none yet.
  • Database: No CDNs have built an ACID-compliant database. Building one from the ground up is very difficult. Database-driven applications like e-commerce require it. Partnership with the leading up-in-comers like Fauna is the best option. It will be interesting to see if Cloudflare makes a go at Fauna, acquiring it.
  • CASB: Cloudflare and Akamai offer a CASB product. Although it’s not like Netskope at the moment, we’re likely to see them mature over time.
  • Serverless: This feature is mature now. Cloudflare, Akamai’s, and Fastly have been around the block, and use cases are readily available.
  • API Security: This is the hottest segment in our industry. We’re excited to dive deep into this next week.

Key Takeaways

The software stack for CDNs has significantly expanded in the last two years. Vendors are developing new capabilities and acquiring them to broaden their reach into the traditional security and cloud computing industries. We’ll dive deep into the API Security market next week.

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