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Web Hosting Strategies

Analysis and review of the web hosting and managed services industry by Doug Kaye.

And Then There Were Three. In his weblog, John Robb asks about Speedera:

This is the new hotshot company in content delivery networks. Doesn't this management team look like it is a little light on technology experience? Also, this VC team looks to be a rejection of standard SV firms. Doug Kaye, what is your take on this company?
Yeah, the management team does look pretty young, doesn't it? But Speedera has been in the content delivery business almost as long as Akamai. The Speedera founders came from Resonate, and their historical emphasis has been on high-performance delivery of streaming content. They're known for good traffic management, including the use of a satellite network as the most cost-effective way to pre-load their edge servers. As far as the investors, it's not your ideal high-marquee value Sand Hill Road team, but hey...the company's still in business.

In fact, Speedera is one of only three standalone CDNs that are still around. The other two are Akamai and Mirror Image Internet. Akamai is now bearing the burden of their huge network consisting of more than 13,000 servers in more than 1,000 networks in 63 countries. They also lost a great CTO when Danny Lewin was killed aboard one of the airplanes that hit the World Trade Center on September 11. Speedera and Mirror Image Internet's networks are based on a more centralized architecture that uses far fewer locations but larger servers. (Of course it's all covered in my book. :-))

The remaining CDN players (all three of them) are hurting because their fundamental value proposition aren't currently high on customers' lists. The two primary benefits of using a CDN were (a) to lower the cost of content delivery, and (b) to deliver it more quickly and more reliably. The former isn't working because of the artificially low cost of conventional long-haul bandwidth. The latter is less important than during the dot-com era, when over-funded companies thought site performance would be a significant competitive differentiator. Oops.

In search of profits, Akamai and Mirror Image Internet are getting into the delivery of applications from the edge of the network. Akamai is the driving force behind edge-side includes (see ESI). MII wants to deliver XML/SOAP-based Web Services from the edge. Look for intriguing announcements from MII in about two weeks.
Posted Monday, March 25, 2002 8:10:47 PM   

Moving Up the Pyramid. Although MSPs may give the impression they'll "take care of everything," many of them only go as high in the service pyramid as databases and application servers. They stop short of supporting applications. But Tim Wilson thinks we should look more carefully at Loudcloud's acquisition of ASP Frontera who supports higher-level applications from BroadVision, Vignette, E.piphany and ATG. Tim says, "Many corporations that had considered those applications too costly to deploy - or too risky to rely on - may reconsider their views. And other vendors, including Loudcloud’s competitors, may follow suit."
Posted Monday, March 25, 2002 7:59:38 AM   



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