|Traded as||NASDAQ: AKAM
S&P 500 Component
Daniel M. Lewin
|Headquarters||8 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142
|Key people||George H. Conrades
(Co-founder, Chief Scientist, CEO)
|Revenue||US$ 1.16 billion (2011)|
|Operating income||US$ 290.65 million (2011)|
|Net income||US$ 200.90 million (2011)|
Akamai Technologies, Inc. // 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 30 percent of all web traffic.
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. As of 2009, secure connections (designed to highlight hidden intermediaries) posed a problem to Akamai, and attempts to connect to a popular website over HTTPS might reveal the Akamai backend. More recently, however, enhanced security offerings such as Kona Site Defender have become a major selling point, and in 2013 were the leading driver of revenue growth for the company.
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. 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.
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.
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.
In December 2013, Akamai acquired cyber security provider, Prolexic Technologies, for approximately $370 million. 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.
Content delivery to a user
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. 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 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.
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.
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
- akamaihd.net, a content-delivery network used by companies like Twitter and Facebook to speed up their services
- akamaitechnologies.com, a content-delivery network used by companies like Adobe
In addition to using Akamai's own servers, Akamai delivers content from other end-users' computers, in a form of peer-to-peer networking. 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." 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."
The Akamai Network: Edge Platform
The Akamai Network is a distributed cloud computing platform that operates worldwide. 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. 
Akamai's approach is to:
- 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.
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. Both companies later announced that Apple had made a $12.5 million investment in the company the previous month. Apple continues to use Akamai as their primary content delivery network for a wide range of applications including software downloads from Apple's Website, QuickTime movie trailers, and the iTunes Store.
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.
Arabic news network Al-Jazeera was a customer from March 28, 2003, until April 2, 2003, when Akamai decided to end the relationship. The network's English-language managing editor claimed this was due to political pressure.
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.
The entire China Central Television website (CCTV.com), including its streaming video, has been hosted on Akamai's edge servers since late 2009. Hulu uses Akamai for hosting video. MIT OpenCourseWare utilizes Akamai's EdgeSuite for its content delivery network.
Akamai also provided streaming services to ESPN Star (India) during the course of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Other customers include Facebook, Twitter, AMD, Wedubox, Hilton Worldwide, Adobe Systems, Netflix, Cineville, Miles Kimball, J. C. Penney, Yahoo!, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, QNet Virtual Office, and GitHub.
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. Both companies also agreed to halt pending lawsuits involving trade secrets and patent infringement. The acquisition was completed in June 2005.
In November 2006, Akamai acquired Nine Systems Corporation for roughly $164 million 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".
In September 2012, Akamai acquired FastSoft, a Pasadena based company that developed enhanced TCP technology that could complement to Akamai's already existing algorithms.
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.
- January 14, 1999 - MIT Scientists Develop New Method to Distribute Content over World Wide Web. Akamai.com (1999-01-14). Retrieved on 2013-08-14.
- December 17, 2012 - Akamai Announces CEO Succession. Akamai.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-14.
- "2011 Form 10-K, Akamai Technologies, Inc.". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved July 23, 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.".
- Akamai and ssl, August 12, 2009
- Tim Beyers (Oct 21, 2013). "What to Watch For in Akamai's Q3 Earnings Report". Motley Fool. Retrieved Nov 15, 2013.
- "Akamai Technologies, Inc. Added to the Russell 3000 Index and Russell 2000 Index". July 17, 2001. Retrieved Jul 19, 2013.
- Benjamin Edelman, Thomas Eisenmann, Eric Van Den Steen (June 8, 2010). "Akamai Technologies". Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- Sruthi Ramakrishnan (2 December 2013). "Akamai to acquire cyber security provider Prolexic for $370 million". Reuters.
- Hardawar, Devindra (December 2, 2013). "Akamai eyes enterprise security by snapping up DDoS protection company Prolexic for $370M". VentureBeat. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "Inside Akamai and the scary future of streaming video, GigaOm.". August 19, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- Young, Jeff; Wolfe, Steven J. (2000-10-18). "Akamai Unveils EdgeSuite, the Next Generation of Intelligent Content Services". Press release. Akamai Technologies. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Gill, Kathy E. (2010-10-18), What Is edgesuite.net?, WordPress, retrieved 2012-03-31
- Ben Homer (January 26, 2010). "Akamai Using P2P for Enhanced Video Delivery". Online Video Watch. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Akamai NetSession Interface – Design Principles". Akamai Technologies. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Basic No-Frills 10 MB Test Download". Akamai Technologies. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Facts & Figures - Akamai". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Akamai EdgePlatform
- July 21, 1999 – Apple and Akamai Create High Quality Network for Internet Streaming. Akamai.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- August 18, 1999 – Apple and Akamai Reveal Apple Investment to Cement Strategic Agreement. Akamai.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- Customer List. Akamai.com (September 30, 2003). Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- 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.
- Microsoft and Akamai Form Strategic Relationship to Enhance Internet Content Delivery. Akamai.com. September 27, 1999. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- "Akamai ends Al Jazeera server support". News.com.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
- "Al Jazeera Denied Akamai Services". Tech.mit.edu. April 8, 2003. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
- "The NewsMarket partnered with Akamai to Accelerate Dynamic Content and Applications to Global Media Ahead of Beijing Olympics". Akamai Technologies. June 9, 2008.
- Kee, Tameka. (March 2, 2009) Corrected: Obama Drops YouTube For Akamai On Whitehouse.gov; White House Denies. paidContent. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- www.cctv.com. Robtex.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- About. Hulu (March 12, 2008). Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- "Free Online Course Materials FAQ: Technology MIT OpenCourseWare:". Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- espnstar.com Breaks India Online Cricket Match Streaming Record. Teck.In (2011-04-18). Retrieved on 2013-08-14.
- "Akamai to Acquire Speedera Networks". Press Release. Akamai Technologies, Inc. March 16, 2005.
- "Akamai Snaps up Rival Speedera". CNET News. March 16, 2005.
- "Akamai Completes Acquisition of Speedera Networks". Press Release. Akamai Technologies, Inc. June 13, 2005.
- "Akamai to the Nines". The Motley Fool. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- "Form 10-K for Akamai Technologies, Inc.". Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- "Form 10-Q for Akamai Technologies Inc". Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007.
- "Akamai closes Netli acquisition". Retrieved November 28, 2011.
- "Connect your products and services to a buying audience". Akamai Technologies, Inc. April 30, 2009.
- "Akamai Annual Report 2010". Akamai Technologies, Inc.
- Gomer, Gregory (December 22, 2011). "Akamai Confirms Acquisition of Israeli Competitor Cotendo for $268 Million". BostInno. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "Akamai Technologies Acquires Blaze Software Inc.". CDN-Advisor.com. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
- "Akamai buys Fastsoft". Forbes.com. 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.
- Official website
- Traffic Cops Of The Net (BusinessWeek article)
- Akamai: In the Broadband Internet Sweet Spot (article)
- The Motley Fool's analysis of Akamai
- The Akamai Story: From Theory to Practice
- Yahoo! Finance "Akamai Technologies, Inc." Company Profile
- Washington Post profile of the company
- Akamai & The CDN Price Wars
- Globally Distributed Content Delivery