Another “Better Together” Combination: Cisco and Akamai
Today, Cisco and Akamai announced plans to work together to deliver the world’s first integrated Application Optimization solution for hybrid WANs, leveraging the Internet as a fast, reliable, and secure WAN option. The anticipated solution would leverage the most widely deployed enterprise router: the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR), and Akamai’s new Unified Performance solution. We believe this collaboration will come as a pleasant surprise for Network and Application IT teams, who can appreciate the value in combining two great things that work even better together, while dramatically lowering their operational expenses.
First, let me explain what Akamai Unified Performance offers. As a proven leader in content delivery over the Internet, Akamai is now providing a new set of caching, and bandwidth optimization technologies to enable high-quality online experiences within “brick and mortar” locations. It basically brings Akamai’s world-class performance and optimization technology into the branch office. With Akamai Unified Performance, retailers and enterprises can engage customers and employees in new, more immersive experiences through digital media, while alleviating the burden of more traffic over the wide-area network (WAN).
So where does Cisco come in? We are planning to work with Akamai to extend their new Unified Performance Solution to the branch office, store, or any other remote site with a Cisco ISR – a router you can find in most retail stores and enterprise branch offices worldwide. The combined solution would provide a distributed content delivery model to drive rich-media customer engagements, while maintaining lean IT operations.
At Cisco, we have mastered the art of delivering an unmatched number of network and application services onto a single platform. This includes WAN optimization (WAAS), application visibility, control, and path selection (AVC), and security (VPN, Firewall, Cloud Web Security). Other vendors require customers to tack on multiple appliances in their branch operations to get this level of sophistication; however, we put it all in a single device that is easy to remotely control.
Our open architecture can also quickly integrate third-party solutions right into routers, including those that are already deployed on customer premises. This means that retail stores and enterprise branch offices would be able to benefit from Akamai’s new solution in the future, while continuing to leverage Cisco hardware for simplified operations and easier management. Now that’s what I call investment protection at its best – we take what our customers have already paid for, and build on incremental value. And that’s precisely why a number of our retail and enterprise customers are just as excited as we about the prospects of this venture between the two companies.
Working with Akamai, we expect to focus on leveraging the Internet as a fast, reliable, and cost effective WAN alternative to meet growing bandwidth demands without incurring additional costs. We have already started it with our Cisco Intelligent WAN solution (IWAN), and is anticipated to take IWAN to a whole new level. The ultimate goal is to provide a simple-to-deploy cloud-managed Cisco customer premise equipment (CPE) that would leverage Akamai’s global network and Internet traffic engineering, with Cisco’s context-based routing and application performance services.
Our first endeavor will ultimately focus on prepositioning both Akamai and generic Internet content in the stores and branch offices. This would provide acceleration and caching of dynamic content to improve the user experience at these remote locations without giving up the cost advantage of application centralization.
This solution is expected to help IT teams in two critical areas. First, they can play a more strategic role in supporting business innovation, which management will appreciate. Second, they can lower overall costs through operational efficiencies over the WAN.
For Cisco’s customers, we anticipate they will be able to:
- Accelerate all public and private cloud applications, not just a select few
- Deploy in-branch connected digital experiences
- Drive down IT costs
- Scale to thousands of branch locations at low cost
- Enable an agile network and IT infrastructure
Our development teams are currently working together to bring the joint solution to market quickly. We see this as just a first step in a long term working relationship between Cisco and Akamai. By bringing together the best in networking and content delivery, we are planning to offer IT teams the best of both worlds for an even better outcome that can make the Internet run better for business. We are looking forward to partnering with our customers who are transitioning to the Internet as a WAN, and help them innovate and grow their business.
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