Akamai Technologies

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Akamai Technologies, Inc.
Type Public
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
Industry Internet
Founded 1998
Founders Tom Leighton
Daniel M. Lewin
Preetish Nijhawan
Jonathan Seelig
Randall Kaplan[1]
Headquarters 8 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142
Key people George H. Conrades
Tom Leighton
(Co-founder, Chief Scientist, CEO)[2]
  • Increase US$ 1,577.922 million (2013) [3]
  • Increase US$ 1,373.947 million (2012) [3]
Operating income
  • Increase US$ 413.968 million (2013) [3]
  • Increase US$ 314.487 million (2012) [3]
Net income
  • Increase US$ 293.487 million (2013) [3]
  • Increase US$ 203.989 million (2012) [3]
Total assets
  • Increase US$ 2,957.685 million (2013) [4]
  • Increase US$ 2,600.627 million (2012) [3]
Total equity
  • Increase US$ 2,629.431 million (2013) [4]
  • Increase US$ 2,345.754 million (2012) [3]
Employees 4,200(January 2014)[5]
Website akamai.com
Akamai content delivery to a user

Akamai Technologies, Inc. /ˈɑːkəm/ is an Internet content delivery network headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. Akamai's network is one of the world's largest distributed-computing platforms, responsible for serving between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic.[6]

The company operates a network of servers around the world and rents capacity on these servers to customers who want their websites to work faster by distributing content from locations close to the user. Over the years their customers have included Facebook, Bing, Twitter and healthcare.gov. When a user navigates to the URL of an Akamai customer, their browser is redirected to one of Akamai’s copies of this website, almost entirely invisible to the vast majority of its users. Earlier in Akamai's life, secure connections (designed to highlight hidden intermediaries) posed a problem and attempts to connect to a popular website over HTTPS might reveal the Akamai backend; however, a technical solution to this problem was implemented many years ago. More recently, however, enhanced security offerings such as Kona Site Defender (Web Application Firewall) have become a major selling point, and in 2013 were the leading driver of revenue growth for the company.[7]

The company was founded in 1998 by Daniel M. Lewin (then a graduate student at MIT) and MIT applied mathematics professor Tom Leighton, together with Jonathan Seelig, Preetish Nijhawan and Randall Kaplan.[1] Lewin was killed aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed in the September 11 attacks of 2001. Leighton currently serves as Akamai's CEO.

Akamai is a Hawaiian word meaning "intelligent" or "witty."


Leighton has served as head of the Algorithms Group at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science since its inception in 1996. Believing that a solution to Web congestion could be found in applied mathematics and algorithms, Leighton solicited the help of MIT graduate student Danny Lewin and others. Together they developed the mathematical algorithms necessary to handle the dynamic routing of content.

In addition to Leighton and Lewin, Jonathan Seelig and Randall Kaplan were also founders of Akamai.[1]

In late 1998 and early 1999, a group of Internet business professionals joined the founding team. Most notably, Paul Sagan, a former president of Time Inc. New Media who founded the Road Runner cable modem service and who also helped launch NY1 News, became chief operating officer and eventually president of Akamai Technologies. George Conrades, former chairman and chief executive officer of BBN Corp. and senior vice president of U.S. operations for IBM, joined as chief executive officer a few months later. The company launched commercial service in April 1999.

Effective July 1, 2001, Akamai began its journey on the Russell 3000 Index and Russell 2000, of which the membership lasted for one year.[8]

Between 2003 and 2009, Akamai's "revenue grew at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 32%, with a 26% operating margin in 2009. Akamai also broadened its worldwide customer base, with 28% of 2009 revenue coming from outside the United States, up from 23% two years earlier". Part of this growth came from Akamai's core content delivery service.[9]

In December 2013, Akamai acquired cyber security provider, Prolexic Technologies, for approximately $370 million.[10] The deal helps protect Akamai's enterprise clients from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, where attackers attempt to flood a company's servers with traffic.[11]

Content delivery to a user[edit]

Akamai provides a service to companies that have content on the Internet (Akamai's customers), to deliver this content to users browsing the Web and downloading content.[6] Akamai does this by transparently mirroring content—sometimes all site content including HTML, CSS, and software downloads, and sometimes just media objects such as audio, graphics, animation, and video—from customer servers. Though the domain name (but not subdomain) remains the same, the IP address points to an Akamai server or to another user's machine[citation needed] that Akamai is used as a server rather than the customer's server. The Akamai server is automatically picked depending on the type of content and the user's network location.

Thus users can receive content from whichever Akamai server or user is close to them or has a good connection, leading to faster download-times and less vulnerability to network congestion or to outages. Furthermore, for streaming media, Akamai claims to provide better scalability by delivering the content over the last-mile from servers close to end-users, avoiding the middle-mile bottleneck of the Internet.[12]

In addition to content caching, Akamai provides services which accelerate dynamic and personalized content, J2EE-compliant applications, and streaming media to the extent that such services frame a localized perspective.

Privacy policy[edit]

The Akamai Privacy Policy[13] states that Akamai is involved in the "collection, use or disclosure of personally identifiable information", including IP addresses. The policy also states "data may be stored by Akamai for an extended period". As such, accessing a website hosted on Akamai servers results in tracking.

Primary domains[edit]

Akamai Technologies owns about 60 other domains, but the primary domains it uses include:


  • akamai.com – Akamai's corporate domain

Content-delivery networks and domains[edit]

  • akamai.net
  • akamaiedge.net
  • akamaihd.net, a content-delivery network used by companies like Twitter and Facebook to speed up their services
  • edgesuite.net
  • edgekey.net
  • srip.net[14][15]
  • akamaitechnologies.com, a content-delivery network used by companies like Adobe
  • akamaitechnologies.fr

DNS servers[edit]

  • akamaitech.net
  • akadns.net
  • akam.net
  • akamaistream.net

Peer-to-peer networking[edit]

In addition to using Akamai's own servers, Akamai delivers content from other end-users' computers, in a form of peer-to-peer networking.[16][17] When users request a download of some large files served by this system, it prompts them to download and install "Akamai NetSession Interface, a download manager used to reduce download time and to increase quality."[18] However, this software operates not merely as a download manager (delivering content from the Internet to the user's computer) but also as a peer-to-peer server, delivering content cached on the user's computer to other users' computers. The user agreement describes this vaguely as:

"You agree that the Software may send and receive commands and data related to participating publishers' digital information ("Published Content") to and from the Akamai network and other Akamai NetSession Interfaces to facilitate the downloading of Published Content."

The Akamai web site describes this system as follows:

"All clients are always on – available to send data when your system is idle. This means there is massive redundancy of peer caches on the network and with such redundancy in resources, the network can be selective about which idle resources to pull from."[17]

The Akamai Network: Edge Platform[edit]

The Akamai Network is a distributed cloud computing platform that operates worldwide.[6] It is a network of over 137,000 servers equipped with proprietary software and deployed in more than 80 countries that relies on applied mathematics, computer networks and complex algorithms to help solve congestion, availability, performance and security problems on the Internet. These servers reside in more than 2000 of the world's networks monitoring the Internet in real time—gathering information about traffic, congestion, and trouble spots. Akamai uses this intelligence to optimize routes and replicate data dynamically to deliver content and applications.[19]

Akamai's approach is to:[6]

  • Eliminate long routes by replicating and delivering content and applications from servers close to end users around the world instead of from centralized servers. Akamai calls this delivering from "the edges of the Internet".
  • Optimize routes by mapping paths across the Internet to avoid trouble spots, compressing content, and replicating packets.
  • Perform computing closer to the user to avoid long Internet latencies (called EdgeComputing).

Akamai's approach requires a comprehensive view of Internet conditions and the tools to control the movement of any type of content or application.[20]


On July 21, 1999, at Macworld Expo New York, Apple and Akamai announced a strategic partnership to build Apple's new media network, QuickTime TV (QTV), based on QuickTime Streaming Server.[21] Both companies later announced that Apple had made a $12.5 million investment in the company the previous month.[22] Apple continues to use Akamai as their primary content delivery network[23] for a wide range of applications including software downloads from Apple's Website, QuickTime movie trailers, and the iTunes Store.[24]

In September 1999, Microsoft and Akamai formed a strategic relationship to incorporate Windows Media technology in Akamai's FreeFlow service, as well as to facilitate the porting of the FreeFlow product to the Windows platform; this relationship exists to this day.[25]

Arabic news network Al-Jazeera was a customer from March 28, 2003, until April 2, 2003, when Akamai decided to end the relationship.[26] The network's English-language managing editor claimed this was due to political pressure.[27]

In June 2008, The NewsMarket teamed with Akamai to accelerate dynamic content and applications to global media ahead of the Beijing Olympics.[28]

The BBC iPlayer uses Akamai to stream its recorded and live programs, focused through an XML playlist.

The official U.S. government White House website (WhiteHouse.gov) uses Akamai Technologies for hosting video clips of President Barack Obama's Web addresses on their own in-house servers, after having posted previous addresses as embedded YouTube clips on the site.[29]

The entire China Central Television website (CCTV.com), including its streaming video, has been hosted on Akamai's edge servers since late 2009.[30][31] Hulu uses Akamai for hosting video.[32] MIT OpenCourseWare utilizes Akamai's EdgeSuite for its content delivery network.[33]

Trend Micro uses Akamai for their Housecall antivirus application.

Akamai also provided streaming services to ESPN Star (India) during the course of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.[34] Other customers include Facebook, Twitter, AMD, Wedubox, Hilton Worldwide, Adobe Systems, Netflix, Cineville, Miles Kimball, J. C. Penney, Yahoo!,[23] Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, QNet Virtual Office, and GitHub.

Rackspace's Cloud Files use Akamai's Content Delivery Network (CDN) for storing its customer's files.


In March 2005, Akamai signed an agreement to acquire Speedera Networks for 12 million shares of Akamai common stock, valued at $130 million at that time.[35] Both companies also agreed to halt pending lawsuits involving trade secrets and patent infringement.[36] The acquisition was completed in June 2005.[37]

In November 2006, Akamai acquired Nine Systems Corporation for roughly $164 million[38] using "approximately 2.7 million shares of their common stock, approximately $4.5 million in cash and the assumption of options to purchase approximately 400,000 shares of their common stock".[39]

On April 12, 2007, Akamai acquired Red Swoosh in exchange for 350,000 shares of Akamai common stock.[40] The acquisition of Red Swoosh was valued at approximately $15 million, net of cash acquired.

In March 2007, Akamai acquired Netli in exchange for 3.2 million shares of Akamai stock.[41] The acquisition of Netli was valued at approximately $178 million.

In late 2008, Akamai acquired Acerno, a performance-based ad network, and launched a new division, Advertising Decision Solutions.[42]

In June 2010, Akamai acquired mobile services platform company Velocitude to support its mobile devices efforts.[43]

In 2011, Akamai announced it was acquiring Israeli cloud communications competitor Cotendo for $268 million.[44]

In February 2012, Akamai announced it acquired Blaze Software, which has technology to optimize Web page rendering.[45]

In September 2012, Akamai acquired FastSoft, a Pasadena based company that developed enhanced TCP technology that could complement Akamai's already existing algorithms.[46]

In December 2012, Akamai acquired Verivue, a technology provider for building Operator CDN.

In November 2013, Akamai acquired Velocius Networks, a provider of quality of service (QoS) technology for optimizing application traffic across enterprise networks.

In February 2014, Akamai completed the Acquisition of Prolexic Technologies, a U.S.-based provider of cloud-based security solutions for protecting web sites, data centers and enterprise IP applications from Distributed Denial of Service attacks at the network, transport, and application layers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c January 14, 1999 - MIT Scientists Develop New Method to Distribute Content over World Wide Web. Akamai.com (January 14, 1999). Retrieved on August 14, 2013. Archived November 12, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ December 17, 2012 - Akamai Announces CEO Succession. Akamai.com. Retrieved on August 14, 2013. Archived February 22, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. March 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC 2014 Q1 Quarterly Report Form (10-Q)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. May 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ "2011 Form 10-K, Akamai Technologies, Inc.". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Archived from the original on May 7, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Erik Nygren, Ramesh K. Sitaraman, and Jennifer Sun. "The Akamai Network: A Platform for High-Performance Internet Applications, ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review, Vol. 44, No.3, July 2010.". Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ Tim Beyers (October 21, 2013). "What to Watch For in Akamai's Q3 Earnings Report". Motley Fool. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Akamai Technologies, Inc. Added to the Russell 3000 Index and Russell 2000 Index". July 17, 2001. Archived from the original on February 4, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ Benjamin Edelman, Thomas Eisenmann, Eric Van Den Steen (June 8, 2010). "Akamai Technologies". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ Sruthi Ramakrishnan (December 2, 2013). "Akamai to acquire cyber security provider Prolexic for $370 million". Reuters. Archived from the original on May 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ Hardawar, Devindra (December 2, 2013). "Akamai eyes enterprise security by snapping up DDoS protection company Prolexic for $370M". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Inside Akamai and the scary future of streaming video, GigaOm.". August 19, 2011. Archived from the original on December 11, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Akamai Privacy Policy.". October 15, 2012. Archived from the original on April 9, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  14. ^ Young, Jeff; Wolfe, Steven J. (October 18, 2000). "Akamai Unveils EdgeSuite, the Next Generation of Intelligent Content Services". Press release. Akamai Technologies. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  15. ^ Gill, Kathy E. (October 18, 2010), What Is edgesuite.net?, WordPress, archived from the original on October 29, 2013, retrieved March 31, 2012 
  16. ^ Ben Homer (January 26, 2010). "Akamai Using P2P for Enhanced Video Delivery". Online Video Watch. Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
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  18. ^ "Basic No-Frills 10 MB Test Download". Akamai Technologies. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Facts & Figures - Akamai". Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  20. ^ Akamai EdgePlatform Archived March 10, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ July 21, 1999 – Apple and Akamai Create High Quality Network for Internet Streaming. Akamai.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2011. Archived March 31, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ August 18, 1999 – Apple and Akamai Reveal Apple Investment to Cement Strategic Agreement. Akamai.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2011. Archived October 21, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ a b Customer List. Akamai.com (September 30, 2003). Retrieved on July 8, 2011. Archived February 9, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ April 29, 2003 – Akamai and Apple Extend Commitment to Deliver Industry Leading Internet Streaming Content and Software Downloads. Akamai.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2011. Archived January 22, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Microsoft and Akamai Form Strategic Relationship to Enhance Internet Content Delivery. Akamai.com. September 27, 1999. Retrieved on July 8, 2011. Archived February 19, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Akamai ends Al Jazeera server support". news.cnet.com. Retrieved April 2, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Al Jazeera Denied Akamai Services". Tech.mit.edu. April 8, 2003. Archived from the original on November 7, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2009. 
  28. ^ "The NewsMarket partnered with Akamai to Accelerate Dynamic Content and Applications to Global Media Ahead of Beijing Olympics". Akamai Technologies. June 9, 2008. Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. 
  29. ^ Kee, Tameka. (March 2, 2009) Corrected: Obama Drops YouTube For Akamai On Whitehouse.gov; White House Denies. paidContent. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
  30. ^ www.cctv.com. Robtex.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2011. Archived March 21, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ This page has moved
  32. ^ About. Hulu (March 12, 2008). Retrieved on July 8, 2011. Archived October 5, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "Free Online Course Materials FAQ: Technology MIT OpenCourseWare:". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  34. ^ espnstar.com Breaks India Online Cricket Match Streaming Record. Teck.In (April 18, 2011). Retrieved on August 14, 2013. Archived February 20, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ "Akamai to Acquire Speedera Networks". Press Release. Akamai Technologies, Inc. March 16, 2005. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Akamai Snaps up Rival Speedera". CNET News. March 16, 2005. 
  37. ^ "Akamai Completes Acquisition of Speedera Networks". Press Release. Akamai Technologies, Inc. June 13, 2005. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Akamai to the Nines". The Motley Fool. Archived from the original on February 4, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  39. ^ "Form 10-K for Akamai Technologies, Inc.". Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  40. ^ "Form 10-Q for Akamai Technologies Inc". Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007. 
  41. ^ "Akamai closes Netli acquisition". Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Connect your products and services to a buying audience". Akamai Technologies, Inc. April 30, 2009. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Akamai Annual Report 2010". Akamai Technologies, Inc. Archived from the original on October 7, 2013. 
  44. ^ Gomer, Gregory (December 22, 2011). "Akamai Confirms Acquisition of Israeli Competitor Cotendo for $268 Million". BostInno. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Akamai Technologies Acquires Blaze Software Inc.". CDN-Advisor.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Akamai buys Fastsoft". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 


  • Erik Nygren, Ramesh K. Sitaraman, and Jennifer Sun. The Akamai Network: A Platform for High-Performance Internet Applications, ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review, Vol. 44, No.3, July 2010.

External links[edit]