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Platform Update: Akamai Boosts Edge Application Power, Expanding Possibilities for Developers

Written by

Alex Balford

June 15, 2021

Alex Balford is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai Technologies responsible for global marketing activities across Akamai's media delivery solutions portfolio. As a seasoned media professional, he conveys a keen understanding of market and technology trends influencing the evolving TV and OTT landscape. His experience includes marketing technologies that span across OTT content management and delivery, advertising and Content Delivery Networks (CDN). Prior to joining Akamai, he was at SeaChange International.

Welcome to the Akamai Platform Update -- two days of new capabilities and innovations across our edge technology and security product portfolios. Today, we look at our edge technology products, which include edge computing, edge delivery (CDN), and other complementary products and services that help customers drive great digital experiences. Akamai is announcing new products and capabilities as part of the Platform Update to help customers build more powerful edge applications and drive better user experiences. 

Managing through change at the edge

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've witnessed a relentless pace of change. According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, in just a few months, the response to COVID-19 accelerated digital adoption by several years at both the organizational and industry levels. At Akamai, we've seen indicators of this torrid pace firsthand. The Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform reached a single-day peak traffic record of 200 Tbps in March 2021. It took more than 20 years for Akamai to reach a single-day traffic peak of 100 Tbps in 2019, and less than two years to double that mark! We're witnessing many organizations rely heavily on the edge to keep up the pace of change and innovate in the current environment, with their developers leading the way. 

Edge computing on the world's most distributed CDN platform: a game changer for developers

Akamai has been operating on the edge for more than 20 years. The traffic high-water marks tell a story about how reliance on the edge has grown over time -- 1 Tbps in 2008, 10 Tbps in 2012, 100 Tbps in 2019, and 200 Tbps in 2021. Today, Akamai remains the largest and most distributed edge platform, with more than 4,200 points of presence (PoPs) located in more than 1,400 networks across nearly 950 cities, in 135 countries around the world. Thousands of customers use the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform on a daily basis to secure and optimize performance for their applications, websites, APIs, or media content. When we talk about edge compute, we're talking about opening up our constantly growing global CDN footprint and enabling developers to write and execute code at our edge, closest to end users. 

To do that, Akamai has invested heavily in EdgeWorkers, our low-latency serverless compute platform, that has opened the Akamai Intelligent Edge to developers and allowed them to start building their digital experiences on top of our platform -- just by writing code. With this Platform Update, Akamai is announcing new capabilities that change the game for developers, giving them even more control to create powerful digital experiences at the edge.

Announcements 

EdgeKV -- Akamai's new key-value store is an edge database used to store or write structured or semi-structured data. It provides reliable access to information used to power serverless applications running in EdgeWorkers. As more application functionality moves to the edge, quick access to data is critical to ensuring low latency and great user experience. With EdgeKV, serverless applications can provide fast responses to requests by accessing data at edge locations close to end users without needing to retrieve information from a cloud or origin data center. This means you no longer need to spend your time worrying about database replication, backups, or optimizations. EdgeKV allows you to focus on your data and the code that uses it. 

In one example, many customers have used EdgeWorkers to create an IP-based geolocation microservice at the edge. However, one customer required a more granular way to determine a user's physical location to help it comply with local laws within a given state. EdgeKV enabled this customer to write and store the data they need to perform more complex geolocation calculations, mapping the user's longitude and latitude coordinates to state borders -- at the edge and close to the EdgeWorkers logic.

EdgeWorkers -- Akamai is making it easier for developers to get started deploying their code at the edge. The introduction of resource tiers creates flexible pricing options that developers can choose from to fit their needs. Two tiers are now available: Basic Compute for applications with lower CPU and memory consumption and Dynamic Compute for those with higher levels. Both come with free usage tiers of up to 30 million EdgeWorkers events per tier, per month. That means up to 60 million free EdgeWorkers events each month! The addition of enhanced debugging capabilities offers developers better visibility into the status of their application, by returning diagnostic information using secure response headers.

Akamai is also making it easier for partners to develop on Akamai. Earlier this year, Akamai partnered with Queue-it to bring Vaccine Edge to market. When many COVID-19 vaccine registration websites struggled to scale and maintain uptime among an onslaught of requests, Queue-it utilized EdgeWorkers to unlock the power of the Akamai edge platform to improve the vaccine rollout. The code enables customers to build branded waiting rooms with queuing logic to meet the surge of consumers looking to book appointments. One U.S. state-run vaccine registration website, running the EdgeWorkers code, successfully handled 1.15 million people within a five-minute period. 

World-class API reliability and performance at scale

Digital transformation remains top of mind for many organizations across the globe and continues to fuel adoption of microservices architectures. Application functionality moving to the edge, where it can benefit from proximity to end users for reduced latency and increased performance, will drive an increased need for applications to be architected in a modular fashion -- with microservices deployed at the edge and in the cloud, all communicating through APIs. APIs have quickly become a strategic element for connecting modern applications and drivers of digital experiences. In 2020 alone, Akamai delivered over 300 trillion API requests. Akamai's continued investments in API delivery are aimed at driving continued excellence and extending our leadership position ahead of the future growth expected for API traffic.   

Announcement 

API Acceleration -- Akamai's newest delivery product is optimized specifically for API traffic to provide increased reliability and performance at scale, and enable fast and engaging user experiences. Small, highly dynamic API transactions are increasingly at the core of critical, user-facing applications. However, they can be highly compute-intensive, sensitive to latency, and prone to spikes. The product utilizes recently deployed purpose-built edge hardware across Akamai's distributed edge network, reserved capacity for API traffic, prioritized routing, GraphQL caching, and more to ensure API transactions are completed successfully and remain highly available even during massive traffic spikes.

And that's just the highlights. For more information on the Platform Update, please visit our website, watch the video, or read the community blog to learn more about all of the new product capabilities across Akamai's edge technology portfolio. 

Stay tuned for Day 2, when we will discuss what's new in security.



Written by

Alex Balford

June 15, 2021

Alex Balford is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai Technologies responsible for global marketing activities across Akamai's media delivery solutions portfolio. As a seasoned media professional, he conveys a keen understanding of market and technology trends influencing the evolving TV and OTT landscape. His experience includes marketing technologies that span across OTT content management and delivery, advertising and Content Delivery Networks (CDN). Prior to joining Akamai, he was at SeaChange International.