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Akamai to expand Linode into a cloud so good you’ll want your data to leave it

Promises tiny egress costs and a better way to do distributed microservices

Akamai plans to turn Linode, the junior cloud it acquire for $900 million, into the platform of choice for developers of distributed Kubernetes applications, and those who have come to fear cloud egress charges.

To fill those roles, Akamai will also extend the footprint of Linode’s cloud by adding 13 major data centers, and 50 smaller cloudy nodes around the world.

In conversation with The Register, Noam Freedman, Akamai’s senior veep and general manager of compute, admitted that pre-acquisition Linode “had limited services, they were not enterprise grade, and didn’t have scale, resilience, and compliance.”

Akamai has toughened things up in Linode’s data centers, upgrading servers to NVMe-equipped machines that use the designs Akamai uses for its own services.

With that more powerful and efficient hardware in place, and infosec certifications such as ISO 27001 and HIPAA secured, and the extra Linode sites under way – with what Freedman described as “much more scale and more resilient network infrastructure” – Freedman thinks Akamai is now ready to compete for certain workloads.

Kubernetes apps that run in many locations are a prime target, as are the big hyperscalers..

“Where they have a centralised app that they don’t want centralised, they want it more distributed, that’s where they find challenges with hyperscalers,” Freedman said. “You can stand up an Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) cluster, but you are left deciding how to manage those clusters, how to distribute the traffic.”

Linode is working on a Kubernetes service that automates those challenges.

“It will be simpler than just a Kubernetes cluster,” he promised, without offering full details.

Akamai started life as a content delivery network, and Freedman said that heritage and the network powering the CDN means the company’ cloud will offer data egress charges eighty or ninety percent below rivals’ charges.

Egress charges often represent unpleasant surprises for cloud users – NASA infamously forgot about them altogether. Freedman opined that Akamai’s well-priced offering is hoped to be a lure for customers to at least come and kick the tyres of its expanded cloud.

While the company has announced its expansion today, just three of the 13 new major cloud sites will debut in the first half of 2023. The 50 smaller sites will also appear through the year.

The Register asked Freedman what success looks like for Linode, given that AWS, Google, and Azure together enjoy more than two thirds market share, with only Alibaba, IBM, and Oracle registering market shares of more than a single percentage point.

“Over the next few years, fantastic success would be in single digit range,” he said. ®

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