There is tentative evidence and a little inside information that seems to confirm that two CDN giants Akamai and Cloudflare are on the verge of merging.
A few weeks ago one insider who works in the industry with whom we are in contact noticed that the work addresses of his colleagues who work for both Akamai and Cloudflare in San Fransisco were now similar. It seems Cloudflare employees changed their work addresses and are now using Akamai Offices. This past week Cloudflare employees in London also changed their addresses to match Akamai’s Offices in London.
When contacted for a comment the Akamai Press Office had this to say:
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“We do not comment on rumor and speculation. We have nothing further to add at this time.”
It is important to note that this is not exactly a denial although it is important to note that it is not a confirmation either. However, if this were not true the Akamai Press Office would not have had a problem issuing a strong denial. This leaves us to believe that Akamai and Cloudflare are indeed merging.
Who are Akamai and Cloudflare
Both are what we have come to call cloud companies. Akamai and Cloudflare offer CDN services. If you visit Facebook.com, who are a client of Akamai, your browser is redirected to the nearest Akamai point of presence (POP) usually a data centre. This POP which is usually closer to you, South Africa versus the U.S, then serves you with a copy Facebook.
There are many advantages to using a CDN like Akamai and Cloudflare:
- Faster load speeds
- DDoS Mitigation i.e. they can protect you from Denial of Service attacks and keep you online even when you face an onslaught of traffic
- Distribute load
- Hide your real IP address (Cloudflare offers a reverse proxy)
- Anycast DNS
Between the two of them, Cloudflare and Akamai account for a huge chunk of web traffic. Akamai alone accounts for as much as 15-30% of all the web traffic according to Wikipedia.
Given that the Akamai Press Office has sealed its mouth we are only left to speculate. Although it might not seem that way, Cloudflare is actually a startup. They raised their series D funding in December of 2014 when they raised $110 million.
Akamai, on the other hand, is an established brand that perceived as being focused on large high traffic customers such as Facebook. Cloudflare meanwhile has been quite successful in wooing middle and lower value clients. Their free package has proven very popular with Bloggers and other people who cannot pay the steep costs of CDN. Most of these clients are likely to turn into Cloudflare customers when they eventually can pay.
Our source had this to say when we asked about the merger details.
Apparently Akamai have been partnering with Cloudflare for a while now for enhanced DDoS mitigation where needed, and seems they’re taking it a step further.
I don’t know if there will be a new brand, whether two will merge into one, or whether they’ll continue to trade independently.
Given their sizes the reality might well be Akamai has acquired Cloudflare.