Akamai opens new data centers in push to public cloud

Content delivery network (CDN) and cloud computing provider Akamai has opened three new internet point of presence (POP) data centers this week, and will open two more later in the quarter, as the company looks to take over a bigger portion of the public cloud market.

The three new sites open as of this week are in Paris, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Sites in Seattle and Chennai will follow in the coming months, Akamai said. The expansion is part of the company’s push into the public cloud market dominated by incumbents like Google, Amazon and Microsoft, Akamai said.

The sites were chosen carefully, according to a statement from Akamai. Washington, D.C., is one of the biggest data center hubs in the world, with Northern Virginia containing upward of half of the major data center capacity in the US. Chicago is a well-situated secondary site for latency-sensitive workloads running either locally or in nearby markets, including Philadelphia and Washington, while the Paris site represents a new option for organizations facing data sovereignty challenges posed by EU regulation.

Akamai also announced new premium instance options, designed to provide a more consistent and predictable experience for large commercial workloads by offering easier-to-manage upgrade and deployment options. This obviates the need for complex SKU matching present at the incumbent large providers, according to the company. In addition, Akamai will offer doubled capacity for its object storage product, taking the limit per instance up to 1 petabyte and 1 billion objects, as well as a global load balancer.

Linode acquisition bolsters storage capacity

The last new feature is a product of the company’s $900 million acquisition of cloud hosting provider Linode, which concluded in 2022. Blair Lyon, a former Linode executive who is now Akamai’s head of cloud experience, said that this week’s announcements are part of the company’s plan to grow its presence in the public cloud, by marrying Akamai’s widespread points-of-presence with Linode’s cloud expertise.

“What we’re doing is tapping into that network horsepower,” Lyon said. “Infusing public cloud into that network gives you something really special.”

It’s a different blueprint from the one used by the existing hyperscalers, he added. Where Amazon, Microsoft and Google tend toward large, monolithic data centers, Akamai’s broader network of POPs makes for lower latency and easier access from a wider range of geographic locations.

“Instead of doubling down on a smaller set of existing [sites] and trying to super-size them, we’re setting out on this journey to building a broader set of core sites and even distribution sites,” Lyon said.

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