Critical battles developing in CDN market

Google has been building its CDN

Google has been building its content delivery network, announcing a number of key partnerships which are likely to strengthen its position in the cloud market. 

The company’s CDN interconnect ecosystem has grown to eight providers, including Akamai, Cloudflare, Verizon and others. And the megalomaniacal monolith says it’s launching a new user interface for its CDN.

Google recently launched YouTubeTV to deliver content live from leading broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Disney, among many others, although those channels are only available in the US.

Such developments, and the widely held belief that video will make up an increasing proportion of Internet data, which itself will continue to grow.

The overall size of the CDN market is said to be worth around $7 billion now, and is forecast to quadruple by 2021, according to research by MarketsAndMarkets.

The value of a CDN is in its ability to deliver content to users from their nearest server through the replication of content onto many “edge” servers worldwide, even if the original content is produced and hosted in one particular location. This enables faster delivery times and fewer disruptions to users, or viewers, wherever they are.

One of the most important advantages of a CDN – other than its speed and reliability – is that it’s well protected against distributed denial of service attacks, and if you run a television channel, you probably lose viewers every time your broadcast is interrupted.

And often, when you lose viewers to a direct rival, you lose them for a long time.

People find interruptions annoying and might be able to tolerate one or two occasionally, but if it keeps happening, they’re gone.

Google is actually a late entrant to the CDN market, with Akamai and Amazon said to be way ahead. But the search giant has accelerated its progress in the sector and its multi-vendor business model could win out over its rivals’ single-vendor solutions.

One company which specialises in CDNs is Akamai, which is probably the company most people in this market think of when asked about CDNs.

Akamai has recently renewed and expanded its global alliance with telecommunications giant AT&T, under which AT&T will continue to provide Akamai solutions over its IP network.

Tom Leighton, CEO and co-founder of Akamai, says the new agreement features even higher levels of security.

“Our expanded agreement with AT&T is a testament to the strong and trusted relationship our organizations have forged with businesses around the world,” says Leighton.

“Together, we’ve demonstrated the value and efficiencies of having Akamai’s content delivery capabilities deployed deep into the AT&T IP network.

“We’re excited to add DDoS protection to the suite of available solutions, addressing a critical customer concern as the size and frequency of cyber attacks continues to rise.”

Akamai is considered the leading CDN provider, and is used by Netflix – among many others – to deliver its content. provides a “quick list” of CDNs and a quite extensive explanation of what CDNs are, including the technical stuff. EM360 has added a few newer entrants to the list in no particular order, and this list is by no means exhaustive, it just lists some of the more well known ones.

  • Akamai
  • MaxCDN
  • Incapsula
  • Rackspace
  • Cloudflare
  • Amazon AWS / CloudFront
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • EdgeCast / Verizon
  • Fastly Hibernia
  • Limelight
  • Level 3
  • Highwinds
  • OnApp
  • aiScaler
  • Internap
  • NTT Communications
  • Nokia Networks

Some of the trends Global Dots predicted are coming true, such as the continuing growth of the Internet, with mobile devices as a key driver, and international ecommerce and video streaming, as well as the growing demand for online security.

Critical battles developing in content delivery network market Click To Tweet

Any website or content provider can benefit from using a CDN, but some of the sectors which find CDNs particularly useful include:

  • the advertising industry;
  • media and entertainment;
  • gaming;
  • government;
  • educational and healthcare;
  • online music retailers;
  • consumer electronics;
  • mobile operators; and
  • internet service providers.

The last one is probably something that will take time to develop since the regulatory and political infrastructure is somewhat lagging behind the technical one. Hence, YouTubeTV’s availability being limited to the US.

And imagine if you live somewhere in Europe, say in the UK, and yet can sign up to an ISP in the US. It’s technically possible, but your local point of presence, or PoP, is probably connected to your house by the national carrier, that is BT – and BT, and the government, is probably not too happy about that sort of idea.