Akamai Helps MSOs Roll Their Own CDNs

Akamai has released a pair of content delivery network (CDNs) products targeted to cable operators and other service providers that integrates CDN software obtained from its acquisition of Verivue about six months ago.

While Aura Lumen, a product that is largely based on Verivue’s CDN components, is being aimed at MSOs that are developing in-house CDNs, Akamai’s Aura Spectra presents a more a turn-key approach that enables operators to run dedicated services on the Akamai cloud.

Both approaches are designed to help cable operators deploy and expand multiscreen, TV Everywhere offerings, handle “large object” delivery (such as Xbox upgrades), and cache their own content or content from over-the-top service providers, according to Akamai director of product marketing Frank Childs.  

As MSOs ramp up their IP video migration strategies, including delivery to IP-based set-tops, many are looking to CDN architectures that help them keep content distribution costs in check partly by pushing the most popular content to the edge of the network.

In the case of Aura Lumen, the operator runs the Verivue software on a CDN that is owned and controlled by MSO. Akamai hasn’t announced any cable partners for it yet, but Cox Communications and Charter Communications are among the MSO customers Akamai inherited from the Verivue deal.

Aura Spectra, likely more attractive to smaller MSOs that don’t have the wherewithal to deploy their own CDNs, pitches a managed model that bakes in some specific benefits, including a Web acceleration feature that Akamai offers on its own CDNs. That option “gets them into the game with a little more ease, but they don’t own and operate and capitalize the infrastructure,” Childs said.

Akamai announced the acquisition of Verivue, a CDN software vendor that counted Comcast and Arris among its backers, last November. Akamai didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal at the time, but a 10-K filing shows that Akamai paid $30.9 million in cash for Verivue, which raised at least $85 million during its time as a stand-alone company. 

Akamai, which competes with companies such as Limelight Networks and Alcatel-Lucent, has yet to announce any additional deals based on Verivue’s platform beyond the customers that Akamai inherited as a result of the purchase.

But today’s product announcement is the result of other tangible benefits, as the acquisition of Verivue “accelerated our roadmap by 12 to 18 months,” Childs said.

He noted that Akamai is also active in the area of “federated” CDNs that could help MSOs establish a national CDN footprint, and thereby put them in position to deliver content “off-net” via Akamai’s platform and compete more directly with over-the-top video competition.