Global CDN technology company Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) has revealed intentions to integrate cloud computing capabilities into its expansive global edge network. Akamai’s Generalized Edge Compute (Gecko) would support the company’s goal of becoming the cloud computing platform of choice for businesses looking to improve user experiences by putting workloads in closer proximity to users, devices, and data sources.

The new project is the most recent step in Akamai’s multi-year plan to establish itself as a crucial platform in multicloud business setups. This is a further development in the company’s vision for a new kind of cloud that would satisfy the demands of contemporary applications that need genuine global scalability, reduced latency, and faster performance—features that existing cloud architectures were not intended to provide.

From Akamai’s perspective, the launch is well-timed. According to a global survey carried out in 2023 by ClearPath Strategies, two-thirds of IT decision-makers anticipate using more distributed cloud services in the next year. The advantages of distributed cloud, such as the capacity to swiftly and effectively handle and analyze AI and machine learning data, were cited by more than one-third of respondents as being essential to their IT strategy.

AI Inferencing, Multiplayer Gaming, Social Media, Streaming Media

Early Gecko experiments have been carried out by Akamai with a number of its business clients. The business believes that the greatest users of Gecko’s capability are those in the AI inferencing, multiplayer gaming, social media, and streaming media sectors. Future applications, according to Akamai, might be found in data analytics, immersive shopping, spatial computing, and consumer and industrial IoT.

Cloud and edge networks are treated differently in current industrial designs, stated Akamai. With the help of Gecko, generic computing may be installed on top of Akamai’s global edge network, using its current infrastructure in terms of tools, procedures, and observability to provide a unified experience from cloud to edge. Through Gecko, heavier, conventional compute – which would often be limited to centralized data centers – will be moved to the periphery of Akamai’s network. Customers would be able to transfer workloads closer to their users as a result of full-stack computing being available in hundreds of previously inaccessible areas.

Developers won’t need to worry about creating for the cloud or the edge anymore, since cloud computing will be introduced into areas that have proven difficult for conventional cloud providers to access. Akamai intends to drive the convergence required to deploy cloud computing capacity at the edge – convergence not feasible before Gecko – in order to open possibilities for innovation across the whole continuum of compute as developers demand more from their cloud and edge providers.

The CEO and co-founder of Akamai, Dr. Tom Leighton, said that Gecko was the most exciting development in the cloud in a decade. “This is the subsequent stage of our strategy for a more interconnected cloud, which we outlined when we purchased Linode to expand our range of reasonably priced cloud-native computing capabilities. With the introduction of Akamai Connected Cloud and the quick expansion of additional core computing areas globally, we started to fulfill that goal. By fusing the efficiency and closeness of the edge with the processing power of our cloud platform – Gecko allows us to bring workloads closer to users than any other cloud provider. This is what we mean when we say that we function on a planetary scale.”

Akamai Connected Cloud, Gecko Roadmap

With 4,100 points of presence throughout the globe, Akamai’s network would make Akamai Connected Cloud one of the most dispersed cloud platforms in the world. Over the last year, Akamai has expanded its core computer regions and added Linode to its network, making Akamai Connected Cloud one of the world’s most widespread cloud computing platforms. Akamai believes that its ability to leverage the power of both the cloud and the edge will give it an advantage. With this benefit and Akamai’s extensive knowledge of dispersed networking, users should be able to access a cloud that is more robust, portable, affordable, and easy to use, the company added.

According to Dave McCarthy, Research Vice President, Cloud and Edge Services at IDC, “Akamai is delivering on the promise it made when it acquired Linode by quickly integrating compute into its security and delivery mix. Demands to move compute and data closer to the edge are driving us toward a more distributed cloud world, as evidenced by what they’re doing with Gecko right now.”

Akamai is releasing a Gecko roadmap. By the end of the year, Akamai hopes to integrate computing with support for virtual machines (VMs) into 100 locations as part of its first phase, which was just revealed.

New Gecko-architected regions have already been deployed by Akamai in 2024 in the following cities: Johannesburg, South Africa; Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR); Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Querétaro, Mexico; Bogotá, Colombia; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Hamburg, Germany; and Marseille, France. These cities would also lack a concentrated hyperscaler presence. By the conclusion of the first quarter, a 10th Gecko area is supposed to be deployed in Santiago, Chile.

Over the next several years, Akamai plans to expand its worldwide cloud computing footprint by hundreds of cities in addition to these 10 new Gecko sites and its current 25 core computing zones.

Akamai intends to include containers in Gecko’s second phase, which is anticipated to begin later this year. To facilitate developers in building applications across hundreds of dispersed sites, Akamai intends to include automated workload orchestration in Gecko’s third phase. The ultimate aim is to provide a uniform user experience across each core computing area and the edge.

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