Akamai Extends Cloud Capabilities


By: Mary Jander

Content-delivery network (CDN) market leader Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) has taken aim at leading cloud hyperscalers AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform with the introduction of Akamai Connected Cloud.

The service is based on the distributed compute, storage, and networking capabilities Akamai acquired with its March 2022 purchase of Linode for $900 million.

“Going forward, Linode’s services will be referred to as Akamai’s cloud computing services,” stated Blair Lyon, Head of Clout Experience at Akamai, in a blog post.

Enhancing Linode’s Cloud Capabilities

Akamai has done more than simply add Linode’s 11 core datacenters in 185 countries to its existing network of over 4,200 points of presence (PoPs) worldwide. First off, Akamai has extended ISO, SOC 2, and HIPAA standards compliance across the former Linode’s network. This is essential to support developers with stringent security and data sovereignty requirements around the world.

Second, Akamai has expanded Linode’s network to include three new core sites set to go live in unspecified locations by the end of Q2 2023. Ten additional core sites will follow throughout 2023. Each of these sites will be equipped with Linode’s compute, storage, networking, and development capabilities, including a Kubernetes Engine and a distributed database service compatible with MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, and MongoDB.

Distributed, with Easy Egress

Akamai Connected Cloud takes direct aim at hyperscalers in a few areas. Akamai plans to add over 50 new distributed sites to support development for far-flung workloads worldwide. Instead of duplicating the availability zones of the major cloud players, these sites will focus on areas that now lack substantial cloud services. (These areas could include anywhere outside the densely cloud-populated metros of North America and Europe.)

The new service will use Akamai’s CDN capabilities to leverage lower egress pricing compared to the notoriously costly egress charges of the major hyperscalers. How much lower? An Akamai spokesperson verifies published claims of 80% to 90% lower.

Despite the competitive pricing, Akamai stresses the multicloud compatibility of its services. “[We are] using Akamai to extend our custom multicloud media stack with ease, reliability, and cost efficiency, helping us to provide unbeatable value to our clients," stated Alexander Leschinsky, CEO of G&L, a German systems integrator, in Akamai’s press release. Significantly, G&L is using the Linode-based services for broadcasting and media streaming. Akamai is pointing its new capabilities at that vertical, as well as at gaming, gaming, software-as-a-service (SaaS), retail, and government applications.

Available Soon?

Enterprises can tap the new security standards compliance support in the Linode environment right now. Linode’s connectivity to Akamai’s CDN is also presently available. To get the full advantages of the additional core datacenter and distributed edge locations, however, customers will have to wait for the buildouts.

This announcement is one of several that indicate Akamai’s ambitions to compete in the lucrative hyperscale cloud networking space. In November 2022, the CDN supplier announced an investment in and partnership with Macrometa, whose Global Data Network (GDN) edge computing development environment includes databases, streaming, caching, and other functions with a global data network of over 175 points of presence (PoPs).

Clearly, Akamai sees the opportunity for its future in becoming a rival to the cloud titans in the same way that IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) have advanced their claims on enterprise cloud workload development. This announcement is likely the start of a rollout of more capabilities in future releases.