Akamai Edges Into the Cloud, Surveys State of the Internet

3/30/09Follow @wroush

Akamai Technologies, the Web content and applications delivery company based in Cambridge, MA, today revealed more details of it partnership with OpSource, a Santa Clara, CA, provider of computing infrastructure for Software-as-a-Service companies. It’s a deal that could help Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM) move closer to the center of the cloud-computing trend, by helping to ensure that data from software applications running on OpSource’s server farms gets delivered efficiently to end users.

Akamai and OpSource agreed last year to start referring customers to one another. That means companies hiring OpSource to host their SaaS offerings can simultaneously tap into Akamai’s Web Application Accelerator service, which optimizes the route that data takes through the Internet as it travels from data centers to users. Akamai also announced improvements to the accelerator service today, including traffic analytics tools and access features that allow users to access SaaS offerings securely from more locations.

OpSource’s pricing model allows software vendors who want to offer their products as cloud-based services to do so on the cheap, without having to buy a lot of infrastructure equipment; vendors pay more as they earn more. But operations at the data center are only half of the picture in cloud computing—if customer interaction with cloud-based services is retarded by an unresponsive Internet connection, the whole Software-as-a-Service model starts to break down. That’s where Akamai comes in.

“Akamai and OpSource are providing ISV’s of any size with a highly efficient, zero capital expenditure solution for ensuring global quality of service,” Willie M. Tejada, Akamai’s vice president for application and site acceleration, said in a statement. “This new relationship with OpSource, as well as Akamai’s continued commitment to introduce functionality for optimizing the cloud, will help our SaaS customers succeed at what they do best—develop innovative software.”

Akamai also released its fourth quarterly “State of the Internet” report today, summarizing its observations of data traveling across its global network of content and application servers. Among the report’s findings: The United States is now the leading source of Internet attack traffic (i.e., viruses, worms, and other malware), edging out previous leaders China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea to take the dubious honor. In survey of broadband connection speeds to homes, Akamai found that U.S. connection speeds increased to 3.9 megabits per second on average, up about 8 percent from the previous quarter—but that was still only enough to earn the U.S. the number 17 slot globally. South Korea once again led in the broadband rankings, with an average connection speed of 15 megabits per second.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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