With Linode, Akamai expands into edge cloud computing development

The market-leading content delivery network has big plans for Linode's infrastructure-as-a-service cloud.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Tom Leighton: Akamai CEO

  Tom Leighton, Akamai's CEO


Earlier this year, when Akamai bought infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud platform provider Linode for about $900 million, it wasn't clear how Akamai's content delivery network (CDN) and security services would work well with Linode's developer-friendly, Linux-based, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud. Now, we know Akamai wasn't just adding a cloud; it was working on edge computing and cloud development synergies. The company is adding more than a dozen new Linode data centers around the world by the end of 2023.

Why? As Tom Leighton, Akamai's CEO, explained, "Linode was an early pioneer in creating the market for alternative clouds." Instead of offering all the bells and whistles of hypercloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, Linode grew by offering developers an affordable way to build new applications. In the meantime, Akamai's initial CDN operations, going back to the late 90s, were the predecessor to edge computing.

Put them together, and Leighton proclaims, "Akamai is expanding from delivering and securing applications to empowering developers to build on it. With Linode, we're taking the next major step in our evolution: marrying Linode's experience in cloud computing with Akamai's leadership in scale and security to create the world's most distributed compute platform." 

It appears to be working. In Akamai's latest financial report, its third-quarter security software revenue was $380 million, up 13%, while its compute revenue was $109 million, up 72%. 

Leighton said that the company is making "good progress on integrating Linode into our edge platform and on adding the capabilities and scale needed to support mission-critical applications for major enterprises. In particular, we've connected all of Linode's 11 existing locations into our private backbone, enabling us to provide lower latency, higher throughput, and improved egress economics."

Akamai has other plans to leverage the Linode platform with its edge computing resources. This includes, Leighton said, "a lighter-weight deployment model that is suitable for distribution at a broad scale. This will enable us to get compute much closer to end users around the world. We plan to deploy several dozen of these lighter-weight sites next year, at which point we expect to compare well with the hyperscalers in terms of points of presence and proximity to both enterprise data centers and end users."

Also: Cybersecurity, cloud and coding: Why these three skills will lead demand in 2023

But, wait, there's more. Akamai announced its investing and partnering with Macrometa, an edge computing cloud company. What Macrometa brings to the table is an edge platform for developers to store, process, and serve data as stateful programs and application programming interfaces (APIs) with very low latencies. Together, the two companies will help enterprise developers build, deploy, and run programs across edge and cloud. The hope is to combine cloud and edge computing "into a single, seamless multicloud/polycloud platform."

Chetan Venkatesh, Macrometa founder and CEO, boldly claims, "We are giving developers superpowers. The ability to create these kinds of applications, at the speed and velocity that enterprise requires, looks like magic to the casual observer. But that is the beauty of what this super platform does."

While I don't expect Akamai to appear in a Marvel movie anytime soon, it does appear to be well on its way to becoming the top choice for cloud developers moving forward.

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