You wouldn’t think there is such a thing. The Internet is the Internet, right? Wrong. All Internet traffic is not created equal. Some traffic gets a higher priority, like voice and video. And with the estimates that 98% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2016, tells me there is going to be a showdown or a showup if you will.
This is where Akamai shines. Buying expensive datacenter load balancers, also known as Application Delivery Controllers, is a huge waste of time and money, because all they do is provide high availability through load balancing and that is already built into the Akamai networking products. You don’t have to configure load balancing, it’s just there and working all the time. Akamai is 100% redundant, all of the time, 24/7/365. Expensive load balancers aren’t and never will be because they do fail, and you can’t buy enough of them to create a 100% redundant infrastructure. Dual power supplies and hot standby just isn’t enough.
The reason I am writing this is not to pounce on the competition so much as it is to make you aware that Akamai really is the only choice when it comes to acceleration of content and providing an amazing user experience. Datacenter load balancers stop at the data center and cannot provide any benefit beyond that. Akamai is the worlds largest Content Delivery Network (CDN) with 160,000 servers around the globe. You can see it visually here http://www.akamai.com/html/technology/visualizing_akamai.html and here http://www.stateoftheinternet.com. Akamai is the only technology that can optimize your content where it actually needs to be optimized – on the Internet. Akamai was started in 1998 so a lot of engineering work has gone into making the Internet fast. Akamai knows intimately the art of making the Internet usable.
Back to video. The fact that video traffic will consume the Internet and requires the worlds best content delivery network to make it useable leaves only one choice – Akamai. Years of work have gone into making the HTTP/TCP protocol faster. Years of work has gone into making content useable by placing it close to the end user on high speed caching clusters. Protocols such as FastTCP or TCP Reno++ and Asynchronous Multicast are just a couple of examples of how Akamai takes the building blocks of Internet technology and makes them extremely fast and useable.
If you are watching a YouTube video or Video on Demand (VoD) or even a Live TV Broadcast, it all comes over the Internet. The only way to provide a useable video experience is to have it cached, locally and closest to you. If you didn’t have this, the latency (Amount of time it takes to deliver content from the owner’s server to your device) would make it un-useable. Studies have shown anything over 2 seconds gets abandoned by the user. We know that using Akamai the latency is in the sub-millisecond range – far less than 1 second. We also know that using any other technology to deliver video takes more than 2 seconds if not longer.
If you are an operator or service provider, this adds up. If you have a series of un-useable events (2+ seconds or greater), your subscriber loyalty disappears. You start to lose customers, and well, you know where that leads. This is especially important for video consumers who view anything from YouTube and Netflix to paid-for Video on Demand content to Live TV Broadcasts such as Football games.
Akamai is the world’s fastest network. The Internet will be mostly video in the form of Live TV channels, Over The Top content (OTT), Live TV with look back capabilities such as Time Shift TV (TSTV) and CatchUp TV (CUTV), Network DVR (nDVR), Video on Demand (VoD) content from private (On-Net) and public (Off-Net) networks. The Internet will need to be delivered to a complex variety of devices from Set Top Boxes (STB) to Personal Computers (PCs) to smartphones (iOS and Android) and tablets to name a few – using Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) streaming technology that can deliver to Multiple Screen types (MultiScreen). Akamai is the only technology that can do all of this fast and reliably and I wouldn’t bet on anything else.
How many devices do you view the internet on?