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February 14, 2023

Akamai makes a move into cloud infrastructure market

The company plans to target large enterprise customers with aggressive cloud egress pricing, building on its edge network services.

By Ryan Morrison

Content delivery network Akamai has taken a leap into the crowded cloud computing market with its new Connected Cloud platform, which it says will bring compute services to the network edge. The move follows its $900m acquisition of Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider Linode a year ago.

Akamai is getting into cloud infrastructure (photo: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)

As part of the move, Akamai is launching a trio of enterprise-scale core cloud computing sites in the US and Europe that will plug into the Akamai backbone, linking them into the company’s wide ranging distributed edge network. The new sites will go live by the middle of this year and will be the template of an additional 10 sites that will be rolled out in the near future.

Akamai already has 11 cloud computing sites that service its content delivery network, and these will be incorporated into the new platform along with another 50 distributed sites that will “bring basic cloud computing capabilities into difficult-to-reach locations”. The vendor is targeting areas that are underserved by the hyperscale cloud providers – Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, and is creating a new large-scale core and dozens of distributed sites which will be connected to its existing underlying edge network spanning 4,100 locations in 134 countries.

This will see compute, storage, database and other cloud services in or near to large population, industry and IT centres. The goal is to create a fluid network from core to edge with a single-digit millisecond of latency from anywhere in the world, Akamai claims.

“We’re taking a fundamentally different approach to cloud computing — building on 25 years of experience scaling and securing the internet for the biggest companies in the world,” said Tom Leighton, Akamai’s co-founder and CEO.

Akamai cloud network to allow for rapid deployment of data

The new network will aid the company’s clients in industries such as gaming, retail, and the public sector that require immediate access to data and compute power, the company said.

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Adam Karon, COO of Akamai‘s cloud technology group said cloud is a stepping stone to solving business challenges and is essential to continue the momentum of digital transformation. “Our distributed scale is designed to delivery highly performant cloud computing everywhere our customers’ business connects online,” Karon said.

The company plans to be aggressive with its pricing, bringing “content delivery network-like economics” to cloud egress, suggesting an enterprise customer could see prices up to 90% lower than Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Rising prices have been a common complaint among cloud users in recent months, with many seeing bills increase unexpectedly.

Akamai hopes to build on the Linode customer base, mostly made up of small and medium-sized enterprise clients, by attracting some of its own global-scale enterprise clients into the cloud platform through its pricing model.

“The cloud’s next phase requires a shift in how developers and enterprises think about getting applications and data closer to their customers. It redefines how the industry looks at things like performance, scale, cost, and security, as workloads are no longer built for one place but are delivered across a wide spectrum of compute and geography,” said Dave McCarthy, research VP at industry analysts IDC.

“Akamai’s innovative rethinking of how this gets done — and how it is architecting Akamai Connected Cloud — puts it in a unique position to usher in an exciting new era for technology and to help enterprises build, deploy, and secure distributed applications.”

Read more: IBM has built Vela, a cloud-native AI supercomputer

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