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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Willie Tejada, Senior VP And GM Of The Enterprise Cloud Division, Akamai (Part 8)

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 14th 2011

Sramana Mitra: All these trends, the video collaboration trend, the online video trend, all of these are massive scalability problems. I think if five billion Internet users start doing video collaboration and video on-demand on a continuous basis, it will choke the network. So, network scalability is a significant problem that needs to be looked at from multiple angels. I would ask you, what are some concrete places entrepreneurs could sink their teeth into?

Willie Tejada: I can just pivot off the philosophy we currently have at Akamai, which is the way that you solve that problem of scale is through a highly distributed network. Through that highly distributed network, we just know that there are some things that you just can’t solve, that are bound by physics. In these particular cases, we believe that a highly distributed network, by getting the content or the delivery of it as close to the end user as possible, is something that’s critical.

When we talk about opportunities that could augment or enhance that, certainly there are areas in relation to new protocols in a way to deliver that particular scale. I think the way they have to take a look at that is to ask, what are the challenges of the network operators that in some cases, Akamai services as well? In those particular cases, they have the challenge of their cost  is going through the roof as they are asked to deliver this rich media content. At the same time, their ability to monetize that content is not going at a pace that the increase of infrastructure is demanding.

The opportunity is how they can bring those economics to a head for many of those network operators. Network operators happen in multiple facets. There’s everybody from the large tier 1 carriers that everybody knows through AT&T, Verizon and Global and BT, FT, and Orange to the local MSOs that currently provide things like the ISP services today. Solving that scale problem can happen on a variety of different levels. And in those particular cases, I think what they are trying to do is offset economics that are challenging those people actually right now. They are coming under increased pressure from the crashing demand of rich media content and mobile devices. At the same time, having the challenge of having to monetize those pieces in their networks that offset the cost and the investment inside their infrastructures.

SM: I agree with you that the conflict, the contradiction, right now for the network operators in having to provide a high quality service without the ability to monetize that quality of service and infrastructure requirements thereof, is an open problem that needs to be solved one way or the other. That situation is becoming untenable.

WT: For Akamai it’s an opportunity as well, as we look to get our network infrastructure.

SM: I think I was commenting more to your point that the monetization models require revisiting and are potential opportunities for innovation because right now they’re not monetizing at the right level to be able to afford the infrastructure needed to provide that quality of service.

WT: That’s correct. It’s going to happen in two areas. One, the solution sets that the entrepreneurs can [come up with] can be offset by cost. In some cases, from the Akamai perspective if Akamai service exists in the network carrier’s footprint, there can be benefits in the content basic that flows over the Akamai network and at the same time offset the cost because of the transparent cashing that can happen in relation to that. So, it could be on monetization, and that can also be these carriers already are looking for ways to build on infrastructure that offsets the cost environment, that they actually have to carry this particular traffic, and Akamai can certainly play in that particular area.

SM: What are some problems – or what is one problem, let’s say – that you see your customers asking you to solve that you are looking to acquire a company in?

WT: I think that there is a lot of opportunity in security. In terms of the security problems that happen at the border of the hybrid network, at the border of the public and private networks, you have a lot of companies in the security area that primarily focuses on two areas: the protection of a website or the authentication access and authorization at the border of the private network.

As we get into the hybrid cloud network environments, there is an increasing opportunity for people to be the policy manager at the border of the hybrid network. By doing that, you could apply some interesting policies. So, if you had a particular call that just absolutely needed a level of quality of service, that could route it one way. If you had a particular content set that could have some tolerances in relation to its latency, that could route it another way. You could only do these things across the public and private network environments if you are the person setting policies at the edge. Those are unique environments in an environment that are just evolving, and that’s the hybrid network cloud environment.

SM: Willie, this has been useful information, and I enjoyed speaking with you. Thanks for your time.

WT: Thanks, Sramana.

 

This segment is part 8 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Willie Tejada, Senior VP And GM Of The Enterprise Cloud Division, Akamai
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