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May 2012 Archives

Launching Forward with IPv6

With the era of freely available IPv4 addresses nearing its end, I'm pleased to see that 2012 appears to be the year when the IPv6 Internet will finally reach maturity and launch into wide-scale commercial use.  For over a decade, the groundwork for the migration to version 6 of the Internet Protocol (IPv6) has been built, with changes to operating systems, client and server software, routers, and Internet backbone networks.  To-date, however, the availability of IPv6 content and end-users has remained slim with few Web sites being available over IPv6 and with just over 0.5% of global Internet users having IPv6 connectivity that their machines will elect to use.  

I'm optimistic that IPv6 adoption is on the verge of gaining real traction, and the upcoming World IPv6 Launch event on June 6th will be a milestone.  As part of World IPv6 Launch, many large websites (including quite a few Akamai customer sites) are permanently enabling access over IPv6.  In addition, some major ISPs are enabling IPv6 for over 1% of their end-users, and a few home router vendors are also enabling IPv6 by default in their products.  A more complete transition is going to take well over a decade, but with IPv6 access for both more content and more end-users, we are making progress towards that goal.

Akamai is committed to helping our customers with a smooth transition to IPv6.  We have had IPv6 capabilities for over a year and IPv6-enabled over 50 sites belonging to over 20 customers that participated in last year's World IPv6 Day event.  In April 2012, we released production IPv6 support for many of our products and solutions, including Dynamic Site Accelerator, Terra Alta, and Kona Site Defender.

What happens when you get three opinionated and outspoken InfoSec professionals all in the same room with a camera rolling? Here at Akamai we decided to find out.

Andy Ellis, our chief security officer "moderates" a conversation with Josh Corman, director of security intelligence and Mike Smith, security evangelist. They cover everything from the rise of the chaotic actor and false flag operations to the difference between compliance and security and security infrastructure vs. secure infrastructure.

Check out part 1 and part 2 of the first video and be on the lookout for future conversations from our InfoSec team covering issues including the changing face of DDoS, application vulnerabilities, and security, compliance and the cloud.

Part 1: DDoS, Chaotic Actors and Knowing your Adversary

Part 2: Security vs. Compliance and Security Infrastructure vs. Secure Infrastructure

Rob Morton is a Senior Manager of Public Relations at Akamai

Ready, Set, Play at Games on the Edge!

The online gaming industry has faced enormous change over the last few years - from digital distribution to internet-connected consoles to more mobile access of casual and social games.

There are 4 key trends creating change in the gaming industry and related eco-systems. First, digital distribution of games is going mainstream, and will likely become the only means of distributing games with the next generation consoles. Second, games are the most popular type of social app for people to interact with each other, which means almost every game has to support online gameplay and communities. Third, games have created one of the largest economies of virtual goods and microtransactions, with players buying, selling, and trading virtual property and paying for virtual property. And lastly, and this is an emerging trend, consumers want the right to play a game across multiple devices once they have paid.

Games on the Edge is a site featuring gaming-related content from leading global game publishers showcasing online delivery of game demos, game site content and game trailers leveraging Akamai's Intelligent Platform. These companies are on the cutting-edge of many of these industry trends. Visit the site to learn more about their games and vision. Hear game-related announcements and industry commentary from gPotato and Aeria Games on the Industry Voices section. Play games ranging from MMOs to Action to Adventure to Fighting to Real Time Strategy to Casual from Aeria Games, gPotato, Trion Worlds, mGame USA, OG Planet and Moviestarplanet.

The gaming industry is on the cutting edge for leveraging the latest technologies and business models, so it proves a great showcase for how these companies benefit from the various solutions within Akamai's Intelligent Platform across delivery, security, downloads and more. We invite you to visit www.gamesontheedge.com, play some games, and contact us if you have questions or comments.

Kris Alexander is Chief Strategist, Connected Devices and Gaming, at Akamai.
Online gains increase pressure on Store Reinvention
Returning from the MICROS User Conference, after speaking on the imperative of the Cloud in Retail, I find myself hopeful - even enthusiastic - for the future of stores.

After the release of ComScore's ecommerce growth metrics last week, this may be a surprise. 17% growth in Q1 in the ecommerce channel is clear evidence that online channel growth is accelerating at the expense of bricks and mortar sales. Given retailers' hesitance to dramatically rethink their store systems architecture en masse, the bad news may come with the silver lining - dramatic change has to happen to survive.

YouCommerce versus Multi-Channel
We are no longer talking about multi-channel. In the era of YouCommerce shoppers are hyperconnected, moving fluidly across digital touchpoints, social networks, ecommerce storefronts, devices, and store locations, with many of these touchpoints overlapping.

Should it matter where a customer purchases as long as the touchpoints are integrated and consistent, and the collective cost of engagement through those touchpoints justifies the investment?

What you need to know about BEAST

Earlier this month, our friends at the Trustworthy Internet Movement launched a new Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) dashboard called "SSL Pulse".  This tool is an excellent resource that provides one set of industry benchmarks for both Akamai and our customers. And one of the first things that we do when a tool like this is released is to try it out on our own web sites to see how we're rated in comparison to the average site.  (That is, web properties owned by Akamai, such as www.akamai.com.)

Something interesting we see from SSL Pulse is that based on their research up to 75% of the world's SSL-enabled web servers are vulnerable to BEAST.  BEAST is tool that exploits a vulnerability in the widely-used version 1.0 of the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol.  TLS is the successor to SSL, and while it has had this vulnerability for years, it was only last year that a tool to exploit the vulnerability was publicized.

One reason for this lag in "exploitability" could be that the logistics of getting the BEAST tool to work are fairly complicated. In order to use BEAST to eavesdrop on traffic, the attacker needs to be able to read and inject packets, and do so very quickly.  While not impossible, this potentially limits the effective targets for a BEAST attack, such as web browsers on a local network. For example it can be really effective at grabbing random traffic in a coffee shop or if thinking on a larger scale, a country forcing all Internet traffic through a limited number of network gateways.

Although it may seem that the hurdles to using BEAST diminish its dangerousness, SSL Pulse is telling us that up to 75% of SSL-enabled web sites are vulnerable. That's a pretty high exposure level, so the next logical question may be why?

Do Analytics Need Your Daily Attention?

Weeding your lawn every year can seem daunting, time consuming, and when not done correctly, ineffective!  The same goes for analytics. With so many charts and graphs, you can get into data overload if you don't know what to monitor. Understanding the most effective ways to engage with an analytics tool will not only simplify matters, it can save you time and transform your business!  Depending on what type of publisher you are, monitoring audience behavior and quality of service are the two most important factors that analytics can help with.
Girish Bettadpur, Sr. Product Manager at Akamai, outlines a few ways to best capture the value of analytics in the below video, filmed at Kaltura's recent Connect Conference.

You'll hear best practices for:
•    how often to keep an eye on your site's analytics
•    how understanding analytics data can improve your video strategy, and,
•    market trends that influence and drive the need for analytics.


Noreen Hafez is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai
The 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival has arrived....and if you don't find yourself in the South of France, sipping champagne and rubbing elbows with the elite, there's still hope for you to enjoy this year's event.

Screen shot 2012-05-15 at 10.30.45 AM.png

Daily on-demand video coverage and film trailers from this year's Cannes Film Festival to the Festival's global audience are available to the Festival's global audience at www.festival-cannes.com.

As Festival organizers embrace the digital age and all the opportunities it presents, fans and film enthusiasts can experience the atmosphere and excitement of the globally-recognized film festival alongside those actually attending the event. For the second year in the Festival's history, red carpet events, new films, movie trailers and related on-demand content will be offered via streaming to iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices across the Akamai Intelligent Platform's HD Network.  

Jennifer Donovan is Senior Manager of Public Relations at Akamai
It's no secret that the proliferation of new devices in the marketplace and the resulting platform fragmentation, has created numerous challenges for content providers who are trying to satisfy customer demand for anytime, anywhere access to content. In the last quarter alone Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones and 11.8 million iPads, while Samsung sold 46.9 million smartphones. Throw in Android tablets, RIM devices, desktop systems and laptops, gaming consoles and connected TVs; and it is easy to understand how providers are struggling to deal with the range of delivery formats. This problem is further compounded for those companies that need to distribute content securely. As it stands today there are also numerous DRM solutions on the marketing including Flash Access, PlayReady, Widevine, OMA and Marlin, adding cost and complexity for providers who are trying to figure the best way to address this challenge.

This sentiment was echoed at the recently held NAB conference, where providers indicated that one of the biggest growing concern for companies that need to securely distribute content to the widest number of consumers is indeed device fragmentation.

As the leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide a secure user experience, Akamai has always been actively engaged in solving the most pressing challenges facing M&E companies. Our message to content providers has always been, "tell us your business model, the devices you're trying to reach, how you want to distribute your content, and we'll pick the best blend of technologies to help you achieve your goals and reach the widest number of devices possible."

Akamai has the same goal when it comes to content security. The reality is that the DRM market is going to remain fragmented for some time, which makes it important for companies to build a common layer for managing and deploying services across the various platforms. This ask is neither small nor cheap for providers, so we're working to create one standard product and interface using the Akamai Intelligent Platform that will interact with the DRM interface of our customers - helping them to distribute in any format they require.

At Akamai we're committed to reducing the complexities and cost for providers in an increasingly fragmented media universe, through the development of innovative technology and partnering with key players in the industry on the challenges that really matter for our customers. Akamai is a founding member of the DASH Promoter's Group, and we provide full support for UltraViolet and other emerging standards that require security for premium content combined with ease of use and a seamless consumer experience. This is an integral part of our efforts across the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) to continue the dialogue not just on security solutions, but standards, and together move the industry faster forward.

Shawn Michels is a Senior Product Manager at Akamai
In my last blog entry I examined the ROI of performance for financial web sites, concluding that:

 "An even immeasurable increase in trade volume as a result of Akamai performance and reliability improvements can result in a significant increase in commission revenue."

In this final section of blog series I will continue the ROI analysis and look at the impact of performance on the net income of a brokerage firm.

Net Income:
Continuing with the example brokerage firm from Part 2 of the blog, I see on their website that 20 stock analysts cover this firm.  Most of those analysts have an Excel spreadsheet with a detailed financial model, and you can be sure that DARTs is a major element in their model.  How will a change in DARTs affect earnings?

Let's pull more figures from their 10K:
     1)    Net income = $650M (rounded)
     2)    Shares Outstanding = 570M (rounded)

We know that all profit is made at the margin, so what is the profit margin per trade?
    Net Income from Commissions   = (Net Income) * (Percent of Income from Commissions)
                                                   = $650M * 45%
                                                   = $290M (rounded)

    Number of Trades per Year    = (DARTs) x (Number of Trading Days per Year)
                                              = 400,000 x 250
                                              = 100,000,000

    Average Profit per Trade     = $290M / 100,000,000 Trades
                                           = $2.90

And how many trades would it take to produce that $290M in profit?
                 Profitable trades = $290M / $12 CPT
                                         = 24,000,000 (rounded)

And how many "profitable" days are there?
                                       = 24,000,000 Trades / 400,000 Trades per Day
                                       = 60 days

Think about this for a minute.  Out 250 trading days for the year, it was the last 60 days that produced the profit.  Ten months of work just to cover your costs, and then only two months to reap the rewards. To be sure, every trade has some costs, but with a highly automated trading system, we could assume that once the fixed costs are covered, each additional trade may result in a profit of perhaps $10.  Let's work with this figure.

Rich B part 3 chart.PNG

And now the questions:

     "How much would you be willing to spend to increase your net income by $10M?"
     "How much would you be willing to spend to increase your net income by 1.5%?"

The formula for ROI is:
        (Gain from investment) - (Cost of investment) / (Cost of investment)

Using the approach above, you can select the gain that makes sense to you, and easily calculate your ROI.

This 3 part blog series was not a quick read.  That's part of the problem with ROI - everyone wants a quick answer but it takes an effort to do the analysis.  I only tackled one of the many elements that could be included in a full ROI analysis.   A similar approach can be taken with Account Opening, Call Center Reduction, Ad Spending, and other items.  The 10K presents much of the data required for the analysis.  Other data must be provided by the firm itself.  This example can be extended to other segments of the financial services industry, or even to other industries.
Performance improvement can have a major impact on revenue, on net income, and on earnings.  Investments into products, services, and internal improvement programs that improve your site or app performance can quickly pay off.

Akamai has years of experience in dealing with the ROI of performance improvements.  I invite you to contact me directly with your comments or questions, or if you would like to discuss other ROI cases.

Rich Bolstridge is Akamai's Chief Strategist for Financial Services

The Future of Cloud Computing

Once again, Akamai is proud to be collaborating on the North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing Survey. Now in its second year, the survey is designed to help identify current attitudes related to cloud computing and begin to identify trends that may help us understand how the cloud landscape is evolving.
How are companies embracing the public cloud?  Are they keeping things close to home with private cloud implementations? What about hybrid cloud?
What are the drivers for moving to the cloud?  Cost?  Scalability?  Agility? Is security in the cloud keeping CIOs awake at night? Or, are they more worried about complexity and manageability?
Take a look at the results from last year's survey and add your voice to the 2012 version.  It'll be interesting to see what's changed - and what's stayed the same - in the past year.  We'd love to get Akamai's blog readers into the mix, so please take a few minutes to provide your perspective.

Thanks in advance!
Andy Rubinson is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Terra Enterprise Solutions at Akamai