Akamai World Tour
Akamai recently held their Akamai World Tour 2023, during which they shared their vision and roadmap for building a distributed cloud platform. I had a chance to attend the New York City event, and attend talks and sessions led by Akamai leaders, including Dr. Tom Leighton (Co-Founder and CEO), Adam Karon (COO and GM, Cloud Technology Group), Lelah Manz (SVP and GM, Experience), and Jay Jenkins (CTO, Cloud Computing).
I walked away with an appreciation for Akamai’s roadmap and their planned cloud computing features. In this article, I wanted to summarize my learnings from the event, in how Akamai offers a highly distributed compute platform, latency performance, and affordability and why I believe Akamai has a compelling offering for startups and enterprises who are looking for a provider with worldwide compute capabilities.
Unveiling Akamai Cloud Computing
During the event, Akamai team members shared how it aims to move beyond their CDN and serverless solutions and create an extensive platform that offers a continuum of compute capabilities from the cloud to the edge. With the Linode acquisition in 2022, Akamai is in position to build the most distributed, full-stack compute and storage platform, which spans more than 750 cities and 4,000 EDGE PoPs globally.
With Akamai Cloud Compute, the vision is to give developers everything they need to build, deploy, and secure their next great app instantly in locations around the world with simplicity and ease-of-use. With key features like Kubernetes (LKE), edge workers, managed databases, and more, plus benefits like the ability to run global low-latency applications, optimize cloud costs, mitigate vendor lock-in, and establish presence in underserved markets, I’m a believer in Akamai Cloud Computing being a cloud provider that can meet any organization’s needs for cloud compute.
The Akamai Cloud Computing Advantage
To grasp Akamai's perspective on cloud computing, it is essential to understand its origins as a performance company. Akamai CEO, Dr. Tom Leighton, shared the Akamai origin story and “performance DNA” in his keynote presentation. Akamai knows how to help customers run global low-latency applications effectively.
In addition, Akamai’s CDN business has massive distribution. They are the top rated vendor in IDC MarketScape. They have a pulse on global internet traffic and understand how to bring compute closer to users. They know where in the world infra is required to be close to users.
With this understanding of Akamai’s DNA and capabilities, it would only make sense they would come with a disruptive point of view in the Infrastructure as a Service space and not just follow the path of existing hyperscalers. A few ways that I believe Akamai stands out:
- Akamai is thinking from the edge. This is no surprise since Akamai is one of the pioneers of edge computing. This means figuring out how to support distributed architectures and bringing more compute power and parts of the application to the edge. Their vision is that more of the application can run closer to users and they have the “edge experience” to make it happen. They also know that distributed computing requires a platform engineering mindset, so that engineers are enabled with self-service capabilities.
- Akamai embraces multi-cloud. Akamai understands that organizations these days will use 2 or more clouds, as evidenced by how openly they mentioned it during the sessions. I also notice multi-cloud on Akamai’s web content. My impression is they actively encourage multi-cloud and want consumers to find the best vendor, and strive to be that vendor that is helping customers reduce platform lock-in by building on open source standards. Akamai is a CNCF member, meaning their workloads meet portability standards, and portability was a topic emphasized quite a bit during the event.
- Affordable pricing and egress. Growing cloud costs is a major issue for many companies who have built on top of hyperscalers. Akamai is offering competitive pricing to address growing cloud expenses and keeps egress costs low—enabling use-cases like live streaming. Its cloud services include free ingress and affordable egress data transfer, allowing developers to focus more on innovation than budget optimization.
- Building trust. Akamai doesn't compete with its customers in areas like e-commerce or advertising, like other hyperscalers may. This non-competitive stance has fostered trust between Akamai and its customers for the past 25 years.
- Akamai is startup friendly. Startups can benefit from Akamai’s Rise program that offers infrastructure credits, making Akamai not only a feature-rich option but a cost-effective one. I didn’t know about this offering before the event, and the possibility of up to $120,000 in credits for startups is pretty amazing.
Akamai Cloud Computing Use-Cases
Given the advantages above, Akamai is a compelling option for several use-cases. A few that I heard mentioned at the event included:
- Real-time experiences
- Distributed compute applications
- Multi-cloud architecture
- Bandwidth-heavy applications
- Low-latency Game Servers
- Transcoding and WebRTC
- Edge deployment in hard-to-reach markets, e.g. Vietnam
Akamai Cloud Computing Key features
Developers and DevOps professionals alike will find Akamai Cloud Computing appealing due to its configurability and rich set of developer tools; I wanted to summarize a few of the main pieces in this section. Akamai is integrated in the Zeet dashboard, making it easy for any team that is looking to benefit from their features to adopt and run with them.
Linode Kubernetes Engine
The Linode Kubernetes Engine (LKE) is Akamai Linode’s managed Kubernetes service. Like other managed Kubernetes services, LKE is designed to deploy and manage containerized applications and workloads efficiently. LKE is designed to ensure seamless distribution of containers across the cluster for maximum resource efficiency. LKE supports Horizontal Cluster Autoscaling, so resources can be created or destroyed in real time based on set limits. LKE has plans like Dedicated CPU, Shared CPU, High Memory and allows for 1-100 nodes per node pool.
A key differentiator for LKE among other K8s distros is the power of the Akamai Linode network behind it. This enables LKE to deploy with lower latency, higher bandwidth, and more reliable network connectivity in all geographies than many other providers we've seen. Ultimately Linode Kubernetes Engine offers a robust environment for developing, managing, and scaling containerized applications. LKE is fully supported by Zeet so developers can focus on deploying applications and not managing their Kubernetes infrastructure.
Linode Terraform Provider
The Linode Terraform Provider is a tool offered by Akamai Linode that allows users to manage their cloud infrastructure using Terraform. Terraform's ability to work with various cloud providers makes it a valuable solution for constructing multi-cloud architectures and Akamai's open cloud philosophy complements this approach.
Linode Ansible Collection
The Linode Ansible Collection is a product offered by Akamai Linode that enables efficient infrastructure management using the ever-popular Ansible. Since Ansible is an open-source IaC tool, developers can use it to deploy and migrate applications across cloud providers, fitting in with Akamai’s portability focus.
Akamai EdgeWorkers and EdgeKV
Akamai boasts the world's largest edge platform for serverless computing, providing close proximity to end users for reduced latency and faster processing times. Akamai EdgeKV allows data to be accessed locally and read at cache speed, enabling highly efficient data handling. Code can be executed on any edge server on demand with extremely quick cold start times thanks to V8 isolates.
Linode Managed Database
Linode Managed Databases offers support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, and MongoDB databases, giving developers the flexibility to choose the system that best fits their needs. Users can opt for high-availability configurations to guarantee maximum database performance and uptime.
Akamai Cloud Compute Case Studies
The real proof of Akamai Cloud Compute's power lies in the stories of real-world startups and enterprises that have seen measurable benefits from its adoption. Many of these case studies and stories were shared at the World Tour Event, and I also had the opportunity to meet with teams who have built on Akamai Cloud Compute.
During one of the customer panels, Zeet CEO, Johnny Dallas, spoke about our own experience working with customers on Akamai.
The LiveKit case study demonstrates a successful implementation of Linode and Zeet, providing many reasons as to why other organizations should consider this combination:
- Performance and Scalability: Linode's robust performance and scalability support LiveKit's growth. As the user base grows, LiveKit can effortlessly scale up the resources to meet the increased demand.
- Seamless and Rapid Deployment: Zeet offers a simple and quick deployment process into Linode, allowing developers to push code directly into production using a Git push.
- Cost-Effective: Zeet provides an economical solution for deploying containerized web apps, APIs, and databases. Linode also offers straightforward, competitive pricing, reducing overall operational costs.
- Outstanding Customer Support: Both Zeet and Linode earned praise for their exceptional customer service. They remained available and promptly responded to any arising issues and have a history of working together to help customers.
- Efficient Load Management: Deploying on Linode with Zeet enabled Livekit to achieve improved network performance in otherwise unreachable geographies.
- Ease of management: Zeet allows you to easily manage your Linode infrastructure, and automates many tasks like application build management, artifact orchestration, Kubernetes provisioning, traffic routing, autoscaling, and application observability.
Using Zeet and Linode together, LiveKit was able to focus on its core business worry-free while maintaining high performance and uptime, which are key to user satisfaction in a live video use-case.
Akamai Cloud Computing is simpler with Zeet
Having attended the World Tour event, I realize how Akamai Cloud Computing can revolutionize the path for both startups and enterprises in today's cloud era, with more compute moving closer to users at the edge. As an Akamai Platform Partner, Zeet plays a significant role in helping startups and enterprises easily use Akamai Cloud Compute, especially in terms of multi-cloud strategies. The benefits of using Akamai Cloud Compute with Zeet include:
- Multi-cloud Flexibility: Zeet enables developers to create reusable, self-serve cloud infrastructure that can be deployed and scaled on any cloud provider, including Akamai. This gives developers the flexibility to leverage various public cloud providers based on their application's needs.
- Latency Optimization & Scalability: In the case of LiveKit, a joint customer of Zeet and Akamai, the Linode Kubernetes Engine (LKE) proved to be the best choice for their needs as they required low-latency live video, good networking performance, and large-scale coverage.
- Enhanced Developer Experience: Zeet and Akamai create a powerful infrastructure solution, focusing on an excellent developer experience. This makes it easier for application teams to manage their infrastructure by placing a management layer on top of the cloud.
- Cost-Effective Solutions: Both Zeet and Akamai offer competitive pricing, which allows organizations to build and deploy cloud-native applications without exceeding their budgets.
Overall, Zeet and Akamai offer a solution for organizations that want flexible multi-cloud infrastructure and a seamless developer experience. Developers can optimize their applications with the combined services, taking advantage of low-latency, distributed compute, high scalability, and a simplified infrastructure management process.
If you’re looking to get started with Akamai Cloud Computing, you can sign up for Zeet and deploy up to 3 services with Zeet for free. If you have existing workloads or want to talk through architecture, reach out and we can help.