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Content Delivery Networks

Akamai Technologies is an American Content Delivery Network (CDN), cybersecurity and cloud services company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and listed on the Nasdaq. Akamai is a relatively young company and was founded and had its IPO in 1999. The company operates and rents out server capacity for customers looking to increase the efficiency of their own websites by routing traffic through Akamais hardware located closer to the user. This is done to increase loading speeds and performance for the end user, and Akamai also provides various cybersecurity measures. The name comes from Hawaiian and means “Clever” or “Cool”, which one of the founders had discovered in a dictionary.

Early Days and MIT

In 1998, the founding team entered a competition held by MIT with a prize of $ 50,000 for the winner. The Akamai team entered with a business idea based on research conducted on consistent hashing, which in short enabled faster and more reliable downloading speeds from the internet. The group was selected as one of the finalists (and came in second place), and it didn’t take long until Akamai was incorporated and the wheels started spinning faster and faster.

What They Do

Akamai owns and operates a vast network of servers across the globe. Customers can then rent space on these servers to increase the speed and performance of the end user, regardless of where this user might be. When a user connects to the website of a customer of the company, they’re redirected to one of Akamai’s systems to receive the information they’re looking for. Various technologies, such as the previously mentioned consistent hashing and cybersecurity measures, ensure that the connection is both secure and quick. When looking at Akamai’s competition we find companies such as Cloudflare, as well as Alphabet and Amazon’s CDN services.

The Sheer Scale of Operations

The Akamai Intelligent Platform is the company’s cloud computing platform. It operates worldwide and has a network of over 350,000 servers spread across more than 130 countries. They gather real-time information about the network and its users, enabling them to monitor traffic and potential problems that can arise. As previously mentioned, Akamai also provides various cybersecurity measures for its customers, primarily within DDoS protection.