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What's New in Edge Delivery

Written by

Alex Balford

October 12, 2020

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.

Today, we're focusing on Akamai's edge delivery and complementary solutions that help drive great digital experiences. Lockdowns, quarantines, and other protective measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 drove a sudden and dramatic shift in user behavior, which in turn has led to enormous levels of internet traffic. The importance of utilizing the edge has never been more evident as companies continue to rely on the Akamai platform to maintain business continuity and support unprecedented online demand. Regardless of content type -- websites, apps, APIs, video, software, or smaller objects -- Akamai's comprehensive set of content delivery products are designed to deliver great digital experiences for every user, regardless of location, device, or network.

Peak traffic on the Akamai platform exceeded 100 terabits per second every day in the second quarter. It was only in October 2019 that traffic exceeded the 100 Tbps threshold for the first time in company history. The immense capacity of the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform has provided unparalleled scale and industry-leading performance and reliability for billions of people around the world as they deal with the pandemic. During this time, Akamai supported numerous over-the-top (OTT) media service launches as well as game and software releases. We also helped organizations advance their digital transformation, adapting to remote work and more.

Announcements

Cloud connectivity

We're introducing three exciting cloud-first initiatives by Akamai.

  1. Maintaining high offload and reducing cloud egress traffic with multiple CDNs is a reality now with Akamai's multi-CDN support for Cloud Wrapper, which provides a single hub for all your media delivery traffic.

  2. Announcing the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Interconnect solution, offering self-service interconnect integration with GCP, with the added benefit of reduced cloud egress costs.

  3. Authenticating your GCP or AWS origin is easier and more secure with Akamai's new Cloud Access Manager, providing a single destination to manage all of your cloud storage keys.

These initiatives work directly with your cloud service provider to reduce cost, streamline authentication integration, and provide the flexibility required for multi-origin and multi-CDN architectures.

Live streaming 

2021 is shaping up to be a BIG one for live streaming. With this in mind, Akamai has used much of 2020 to prepare new capabilities that will help customers be ready for this surge. As part of this platform update, Akamai is announcing several capabilities for live streaming, including support for low-latency HLS. The emerging specification is intended to provide users end-to-end latency of three seconds or less and backward compatibility across the Apple video player ecosystem. It's expected to help drive overall adoption of low latency in live streaming for the most popular streaming formats. The new developer-friendly Media Services API automates the process of configuring live streaming workflows on the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform. Akamai's Access Revocation is core to Akamai's "prevent-discover-enforce" content security posture, providing content rights owners the power to stop unauthorized video streams. The newest version boasts improved scale to serve larger audience sizes as well as quicker revocation response times to provide highly-scalable enforcement of fraudulent or shared streams. Akamai is ready to handle the upcoming surge in live streaming and is committed to driving success for our customers.

Web vitals

The platform update to our real user monitoring solution introduces more than a dozen new metrics to help companies understand real user experience. The one that stands out the most is support for Google's Web Vitals. Google announced that a new algorithm update is set to arrive in 2021 that will include a refresh of the metrics Google uses as a search ranking signal for healthy site performance. These new metrics are described by Google as "a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience." mPulse now supports the measurement of the three metrics that make up Core Web Vitals: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures load time; First Input Delay (FID), which measures interactivity; and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures visual stability. You can learn more about our Core Web Vitals support in our detailed article Measuring & Improving Core Web Vitals, and you can find details on all new mPulse features in our dedicated blog post Timers, Metrics and Dimensions: What's New in mPulse in 2020.

We also rolled out several enhancements across our portfolio. To learn more about what's new for your Akamai solutions, here’s a summary of updates:

Adaptive Media Delivery 

Adaptive Media Delivery, our streaming media delivery product, incorporates improvements that optimize delivery of streaming video at scale. Among those are support for a new low-latency live streaming protocol; improved connectivity with Azure origins that offers customers reduced egress fees; as well as added support for EdgeWorkers, Akamai's cloud compute solution.

Key features

  • Low-Latency HLS Support: Delivers scalable low latency live streaming with support for Apple's latest HLS protocol

  • Manifest Personalization DASH Support: Personalizes DASH manifests and optimizes bitrate ladders at the edge

  • Access Revocation: Prevents users from illicitly sharing video streams with unauthorized viewers via granular control over individual viewing sessions

  • Azure Cloud Interconnect: Provides a private connection between the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform and Azure origins for reliable performance and reduced cloud egress costs

  • EdgeWorkers Support: Introduces support for EdgeWorkers on Adaptive Media Delivery

Akamai Control Center

Akamai Control Center introduces reporting updates that enhance your visibility across all Akamai products into usage, offload, billing and Akamai APIs.

Key features

  • Reporting Overview: Aggregates all applicable reports for each customer across the entire Akamai portfolio

  • Reporting Homepage Card: Offers a quick overview of their traffic and offload for the last 24 hours

  • Billing: Helps you understand invoices with granular insight into usage details

  • API Usage Report: Provides visibility into usage of Akamai API calls and events at an account and user level

CloudTest

CloudTest, our global load-testing platform, introduces new APIs, better support for AWS and Azure, and multiple improvements and bug fixes.

Key features

  • New CloudTest Composition Instance API: Provides the ability to play, pause, resume, and stop tests using a REST API 

  • New Test Results Query API: Allows you to retrieve, manage, and delete test results asynchronously using a REST API

  • Expanded AWS and Azure Support: Expands the list of available locations and provide for new instance type size and classes in AWS and Azure

  • Scaling, Performance, and Usability Improvements: Imports and exports in HTTP Archive (HAR) format; allows test properties to be changed during test run; improves load and data processing times

Cloud Wrapper

Cloud Wrapper is adding operational improvements and multi-CDN support to help you maintain shared cacheability, predictable offload levels, and cost savings for origin infrastructures within increasingly complex and open live streaming architectures.

Key features

  • Multi-CDN support: Provides a cloud caching layer to reduce egress costs with support for multi-CDN infrastructures

  • Reporting: Offers a new reporting dashboard in Akamai Control Center to view offload and other statistics for footprint configurations

  • Enhanced provisioning: Supports Cloud Wrapper in Property Manager to provision, enable, and manage footprint configurations within Akamai Control Center

Download Delivery

Download Delivery enhances connectivity with Azure origins to offer customers reduced egress fees, as well as added support for EdgeWorkers, Akamai's cloud compute solution.

Key features

  • Azure Cloud Interconnect: Provides a private connection between the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform and Azure origins for reliable performance and reduced cloud egress costs

  • EdgeWorkers support: Introduces support for EdgeWorkers on Adaptive Media Delivery

Ion

Ion, our flagship solution for website and application performance, adds new capabilities that improve connectivity with cloud origins and enable customers to reduce cloud egress costs. The product setup and configuration experience for new properties has been revamped to make it easier and more intuitive for customers to achieve optimal performance right out of the box. Other added features help drive better performance and operational improvements for a segment of customers looking to incorporate Akamai into a multi-CDN architecture.

Key features

  • Enhanced configuration: Improves the product configuration experience within Akamai Control Center and provides better insight into the product features available 

  • Cloud Access Manager: Allows you to securely manage authentication keys for AWS and GCP origins using Akamai's Key Management Infrastructure (KMI)

  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Interconnect: Provides a private connection between the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform and GCP origins for reliable performance and reduced cloud egress costs

  • Performance policy bot filtering: Automates filtering of bot beacons from the mPulse dataset for adaptive acceleration policies to exclude bot data and improve the data set used for performance optimizations

  • S-Maxage: Allows customers to control cache TTL using the s-maxage header and simplify management in multi-CDN deployments

  • Edge server improvements: Provides additional edge server optimizations that improve request processing flow and reduce time to first byte (TTFB) by up to 20%

  • Script Management -- SPOF notifications: Notifies you automatically  when a single point of failure event is triggered due to a third-party script taking longer than expected to load for an end user

  • Export script management insights: Allows customers to export detailed insights from the Script Management Dashboard

  • SameSite cookie support: Supports SameSite cookie added for current and upcoming browser releases to further protect end user privacy

Media services live

Media Services Live adds capabilities that simplify the provisioning of live streaming video workflows for developers as well as the creation and archiving of highlights and clips during post production operations along with support for scalable low-latency live streams. Learn about all new Media Services Live features in this dedicated blog post.

Key features

  • Live Clipping: Allows on-the-fly clip generation from live streams and supports the integration of clip generation into live streaming workflows

  • Instant TV: Creates live stream segments dynamically, without any encoder changes, by choosing a desired start time for an event to help customers "Start over" or "Restart" live events

  • Chunked Transfer Encoding Support: Provides support for scalable low-latency streaming using Chunked Transfer Encoding with industry-leading formats CMAF, HLS, and DASH

  • Media Services Live API: Simplifies the process of provisioning Media Services Live with a new API

mPulse

The platform update to mPulse, our real user monitoring solution, introduces more than a dozen new metrics, including Google's Core Web Vitals and a new mPulse graphical user interface. Learn about all of the new features in our dedicated blog post Timers, Metrics and Dimensions: What's New in mPulse in 2020.

Key features

  • Google Core Web Vitals metrics: Supports Core Web Vitals, a Google initiative to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web, with metrics such as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)New metrics: Provides a set of new metrics to better understand real user experiences including Rage Clicks, Entrance Page, Service Worker Startup Time, Total Blocking Time, Redirect Time Waiting Time, Download Time, Unload Time, Early Beacon, Visibility State, Navigation Type, Akamai Property Version

  • New graphical user interface (GUI): Introduces a new GUI that is purpose-built around use cases and streamlines workflow for common digital performance management (DPM) scenarios

Stay tuned for Days 3 and 4, when we will discuss what's new in security.

There will be more opportunities to engage with us on this and more at Edge Live | Adapt. Sign up to see how customers are leveraging these improvements, engage in technical deep dives, and hear from our executives how Akamai is evolving for the future.



Written by

Alex Balford

October 12, 2020

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.