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Speeding Up the Internet: Algorithms Guru and Akamai Founder Tom Leighton (Part 10)

Posted on Friday, Oct 26th 2007

SM: What kinds of problems have you identified as big open problems you are going to tackle in the labs?

TL: We are always working on making the service faster, scalable and more reliable. We have a team of folks that are looking for the 1 in 10,000 to the 1 in 100,000 “nasty thing” that prevents content from getting delivered on the Internet. We are constantly testing the sites we carry, and sure enough, with the Internet, something won’t get delivered correctly, something will be delivered slowly. We are always investigating that to make the service better and better and better. Today we have about a factor of 5-10 fewer errors than our competitors. We are always trying to make that margin bigger.

We are also trying to make the service faster and that means more deployments at ISPs, better technology. For example, if you bought the web application accelerator service from us a year ago, today you would find it is faster. You did not have to do anything for that, or pay us any more, that is just what we do.

SM: Are solutions to these problems in the domain of capex / opex, or are they in the domain of mathematics, or are they in the domain of both?

TL: The solution is really in the domain of R&D. It is facilitated by capex and greater deployment. Just spending more on capex does not make you faster and more scalable. It is more the R&D that enables that to happen.

There are people thinking about how to make us faster and how to makes us more reliable. We just received PCI compliance, and we are the only entity out there which has been certified for that. We carry a lot of SSL for credit card transactions. We are working on incorporating a client assist, a P2P assist in a very controlled way for downloads where performance is not as critical but the customer is looking for less cost for file downloads. We continue to work on user generated content solutions.

We are also working with the big application providers to ensure Akamai is very easy to embed in their applications. If you get SAP, it is almost trivial to have it become SAP accelerated through Akamai. Those are some of the things I can talk about. There are always some major things in R&D which we are doing that cannot be discussed.

SM: Is there anything you would like to add before we end?

TL: We have certainly covered a lot as far as the trends we are involved in. The development of our application performance solutions was further highlighted this week with our news that we are now taking any enterprise application being delivered over IP and accelerating that. We are broadening the ability to accelerate applications.

SM: Yes, I have noted that. It vastly increases your Total Available Market (TAM), and that is very good news. It is also an excellent diversification of business mix. Thank you for taking the time to explain Akamai’s strategy to my readers.

This segment is part 10 in the series : Speeding Up the Internet: Algorithms Guru and Akamai Founder Tom Leighton
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