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See You at Edge 2013!

Since our founding, Akamai has been at the vanguard of the Internet revolution.  And as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary this month, our spirit of innovation and our desire to solve the most difficult Internet challenges are just as strong today as they were 15 years ago.

From day one, we have worked hard to gain an understanding of how our customers want to use the Internet to make their businesses be more agile, more customer-centric, and more profitable.  And we use that understanding to guide our innovation and to invent new solutions to help make our customers' visions become a reality.

This October, we'll be gathering in Washington, DC for our 6th annual customer conference--Akamai Edge.  Edge is one of my favorite events because I get to hear from our customers about how they're using Akamai solutions to help deliver on the promise of the Cloud.  Edge is more than a conference; it's become a forum for Internet visionaries from a range of industries and regions to gather and share their secrets to online success.

Our customer base now includes 96 of the Internet Retailer 100 companies, 7 of the top 10 global banks, 19 of the top 20 hotel brands, and more than one-third of the Global 500 companies.  And many of the leaders from those organizations will be on-hand at Edge to share their ideas for pushing the pace of innovation in a hyperconnected world.

This year, we will hear from industry thought leaders such as Fedex CIO Rob Carter, Security Expert Bruce Schneier, IT visionary and author Gene Kim, and many others from organizations like eBay, Visa, CBS Interactive, and IBM.

I look forward to seeing you in DC and to understanding how we can help improve your business in the rapidly-changing and increasingly-complex online world.

Tom Leighton

Chief Executive Officer, Akamai

EdgeBanner.pngI'm pleased to invite you to our 6th Akamai Edge 2013 this October 7 - 11 in Washington, D.C. at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort and Conference Center. Join us and meet up with more than 1,000 of your industry peers and our best line-up yet of industry innovators, as we create the experiences that to drive a Faster Forward World

Our Biggest and Best Customer Conference Yet! 
More sessions, tracks and networking opportunities that have all been designed to provide a broader and more diverse perspective for conference attendees. 

What's New To Help Fuel Your Innovation! 
This Year we'll be offering a Developers' Track - dedicated to technical professionals seeking to develop new experiences leveraging our platform. We'll have sessions on how to bring applications to market more quickly and intimate developer labs giving you detailed insight on how to get the most out of new features in our platform. We're also pleased to introduce the Web Security Symposium, designed for security professionals. Security leaders and your peers will help you think about strategies for securing your organization's data, sites and applications against the ever-evolving threats of today's online environment. 

We're extremely excited about the agenda and the lineup of well-known industry luminaries and tech experts who will be presenting at Edge 2013. So much so that we're introducing new conference discounts to help make attending Edge as easy as possible for all Akamai customers. 

Three Ways to Save: 
  • New Customer Discount: If your company first purchased Akamai services after January 1, 2013, you're eligible to receive a $300 discount on the Full Conference pass. Enter code: 50NEW2013 
  • Edge Alumni Discount: If you've attended an Akamai conference before now you're eligible to receive US$300 off your conference seat. Enter code: ALUM2013 
  • Team Discount: Visit Akamai Edge 2012 With Your Team of 3 or more and save 50% per person. Enter code: GROUP2013 

From customer innovation stories, industry panels, technical labs, partner and government forums to Web security and developers' tracks, there's something for everyone at Edge 2013. Space is limited and by invitation only so we encourage you not to wait and REGISTER TODAY

Join us and be inspired. I look forward to seeing you there! 

Brad Rinklin 
Chief Marking Officer, Akamai

Intelligent User Mapping in the Cloud

A DNS-based, load-balancer solution allows companies to distribute application load between global datacenters or cloud providers. This solution, when combined with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), provides benefits such as improved load distribution, faster load times, and high content availability.  These benefits result from the user requests being directed to the optimal (often nearby) server. Latency and packet-loss are therefore minimized due to a shorter physical distance traveled.

When the client DNS resolver queries the IP address of a hostname, it recursively queries the CDN's DNS servers for the answer. The CDN's DNS server examines the IP address of the client name server, and returns the server that is optimal for that name server.

$ host www.example.com
www.example.com.    3353    IN    CNAME    www.example.com.edgesuite.net.
www.example.com.edgesuite.net. 530 IN    CNAME    a123.gi3.akamai.net.
a123.gi3.akamai.net.    20    IN    A
a123.gi3.akamai.net.    20    IN    A

In the above example, the last two DNS queries are performed by the CDN's DNS. Ideally, the CDN name server would map users based on the end-user's IP address, rather than by the IP address of the client name server. However, the client IP is not visible to a CDN's DNS server as limited by query structure. (RFC 1035). The choice of the local name server and its geographic proximity relative to the client become a critical factor in the quality of service a CDN provides.
The largest annual gathering of Akamai customers and partners, the Akamai Edge Conference, is taking place next week at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and will feature speakers from more than 40 companies. Registration information and the complete agenda can be found at: www.akamai.com/edge

Business and technology leaders from Amadeus, Build.com, Cisco, CTV, Grainger, GREE, Guitar Center, Symantec, USAA, Visa, and many others, are scheduled to present during the three-day conference. Participating sponsors include HP, Terremark, Brightcove, Exceda, IBM, Dell, Adobe, Apica, BMC, Dolby, Envivio, Hybris, Kit Digital, Microsoft, Micros-Retail and Riverbed, among others.

Business innovators including Airbnb, Fox News Channel, The Hartford, Macy's, News International, Red Hat and Salesforce will offer keynote presentations.

Other exciting highlights include insights from industry luminaries Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards, and co-founder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences; Rick Smolan, former Time, Life, and National Geographic photographer and best-selling author of the "Day in the Life" book series and creator of The Human Face of Big Data project; and Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research covering consumer and enterprise mobility

"Akamai Edge is taking place against the backdrop of a world that's connected like never before," said Brad Rinklin, chief marketing officer, Akamai. "This year's conference will focus on the extraordinary innovation taking place as businesses leverage cloud, mobile, media and big data strategies, all while addressing the security challenges inherent in today's hyperconnected world. We've created a dynamic program that will foster the exchange of ideas among peers from around the globe, representing industries such as media and entertainment, commerce, healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, financial services, and software and technology."

Hope you can join us!

The Simplicity Mantra at IBC

Online video was clearly "top of mind" at this year's IBC, and it was fascinating to hear from a variety of companies across the broadcast spectrum and learn more about their video delivery, monitoring, and monetization needs.

If I could put my finger on one major topic I heard over and over again at this year's IBC Conference, it's simplicity. Companies want simplicity across the board ­- whatever it takes to quickly get new video content out to viewers. That's what they wanted to talk about. From companies with large content libraries, to service providers who need to deliver it, the thought of serving all of the different devices viewers are using can seem overwhelming! They wanted to know how to prepare and secure the content for delivery to all of those devices, and they also wanted to understand how to access the end-device player technologies that bring it all together for viewers. On top of that, they want to simplify the authentication experience for viewers, while also removing the complexities of allowing content owner and service provider systems talk together in support of that simplification.

As I showed the demos of our new cloud-based Sola Vision transcoding, stream packaging, and identity services offerings, Akamai's own simplicity message resonated with visitors. They could see how simple preparing and delivering high quality online video can be with a simple, unified workflow that just happens to be built on top of the world's largest CDN.

Visitors to our exhibit at IBC could clearly see the difference between the CDN capabilities we offer, and the value-added video simplification tools we now provide. And they showed real enthusiasm for the simplicity and performance that Sola Media Solutions offers them.

I'm looking forward to continuing the many conversations that we started at IBC in the months to come.

Kurt Michel is a director of product marketing at Akamai

The Sun Rises on Sola Media Solutions

Just in time for the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), Akamai earlier today introduced Sola Media Solutions. A comprehensive set of cloud based, integrated services, Sola Media is designed to meet the increasing audience demand for content that is available when and where viewers want it, on a wide variety of devices, and with the highest quality possible.

Put simply, Sola Media is all about giving our customers an easy and effective way to address the core challenges of providing an engaging audience experience. We can help them adapt and protect content and ensure that content is connected in the larger video ecosystem with Sola Vision. We allow our customers to store and deliver content with Sola Sphere. And we give them the tools to better understand the user experience with Sola Media Analytics.

If you're going to be at IBC in Amsterdam, stop in at Stand 7.K36 and ask to see Sola Media Solutions in action - especially the brand new cloud-based transcoding and stream packaging capabilities. Or, watch the below video. Our director of product marketing for Sola Media Solutions discusses why we believe Sola Media is a great way for content providers to engage audiences with superior quality video, solve the challenges of multi-device consumption, and increase video monetization. At the end, there is an opportunity to schedule a meeting or demo if you'd like more information.

Rob Morton is a senior manager for public relations at Akamai

Last week, I touched on Cloud Gaming and one approach, Thin Client Game Streaming. Today, I'd like to delve into Fat Client Game Streaming.

Fat Client Game Streaming is another popular method of game streaming that overcomes the challenges of reducing the time to play. Businesses like The Happy Cloud, Spoon, and BitRaider have been early implementers of this approach. This method takes an existing game and essentially creates a new version of the client that can be progressively delivered and installed. When you start to play a game, you don't need every library and component, only a small subset. Much of the software is typically not needed until you make decisions in the game that require additional libraries and components. This approach essentially creates a probability table of what component and libraries you need to start, and a tree of next likely resources. A new shell is created for the software to enable the game to start running with a subset of resources which are loaded based on the probability table.
This allows the gamer to start playing in just a few minutes.The probability table determines the typical starting point in the game for players, and downloads the rest of the library components in the background while the player begins play.

The advantage to this model is that start up times are typically just a few minutes to begin play. After a player authenticates and selects a game, they do not need to wait to download and install the entire game.

Another advantage to this model is that it still allows for offline game play after the initial install is complete while playing. The thin client model does not allow offline gameplay, since a server in the cloud is doing the computations and rendering.

The other major advantage to this model is it does not require the developer to create a separate version of the game. This method involves taking existing gaming code and running it through a set of tools to create the new package that can be streamed. This process can take the course of a few hours to a hundred hours per game.  

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?

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

A Few More Tricks From Terra Alta

Last week we introduced Terra Alta to the public (watch video here, under "Akamai's Solution Portfolio") My blog post highlighted analysts talking about the cloud entering its "awkward teenage years" and how Terra Alta is taking on the 4th tier of application delivery to help the "teen cloud" grow up. I also promised I'd be back shortly with some additional insights into new ways Terra Alta helps address application delivery challenges that Akamai previously hadn't been able to impact.

In the past, when our customers have had long think-time applications due to database lookups, Web services calls, or other processing components that slow down origin response times, there wasn't much we could do to help other than speed the content once it was ready to be delivered.  But by then it is usually too late.  The new Terra Alta feature, Akamai Instant, now lets us tackle that delivery challenge head on.  By designating the most likely next pages to be visited by users, Terra Alta is able to start the process of gathering content, making Web service calls, or doing database lookups, before the page is requested by the user, and pre-fetching that content to the edge of the Internet, close to users, prior to the user requesting it.  We've seen this improve the performance of these applications by up to 100% over origin delivery.

We've also had challenges with end users who access accelerated applications from behind centralized DNS infrastructure that make them appear to be at that centralized location.  That means users in Tokyo could appear as though they're in New York and be served content from an Akamai EdgeServer in New York, losing the benefit of Akamai's caching and dynamic optimizations across the public Internet.  Terra Alta's Enterprise DNS Mapping feature allows us to overcome this challenge by remapping users that are behind a centralized DNS to an Akamai EdgeServer that's close to their actual location, such as Tokyo in this case.  Similar to Akamai Instant, we saw performance increases up to 100% faster when using Enterprise DNS Mapping.

The final innovation I wanted to highlight is InstantConfig, which helps to instantly onboard new applications onto Terra Alta without having to do a separate configuration each time. Terra Alta is designed for enterprise use for multiple applications, so this is especially important if there are many applications to add.   Andy Champagne, our VP of Products and Technology for Terra Enterprise Solutions, demonstrated how easy it was to use during the product introduction I referenced above.  He was able to put a new property onto Terra Alta in the blink of an eye, and the result you see here is a decrease in page load time from about 10 seconds down to 1 as soon as he applied InstantConfig.

Terra blog 2 pic.png

That doesn't cover all the ways that Terra Alta can improve your application delivery, but hopefully it piqued your interest.  After its product introduction last week, I was pleased to see some of the positive media buzz from Network Computing, IT Business Edge, and Data Center Knowledge.    If you're ready to help your "teen" cloud strategies grow up, I invite you to learn more here.

Andy Rubinson is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Terra Enterprise Solutions at Akamai
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