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Akamai Takes Cloud Computing to the Edge with Gecko Initiative

Akamai is continuing to bring cloud capabilities to its distributed network of global points of presence.

Akamai Technologies unveiled an ambitious new strategy today dubbed Generalized Edge Compute, or Gecko, that aims to embed cloud computing capabilities into the company's massive global network edge.

Akamai announced Gecko at the same time it reported its fourth-quarter fiscal 2023 financial results. For the quarter, Akamai reported revenue of $995 million, up 7% year-over-year, with full-year revenue coming in at $3.8 billion for a 5% gain over 2022.

The Gecko initiative builds on Akamai's acquisition of Linode in 2022 for $900 million. Since bringing the smaller cloud provider onboard, Akamai has rolled out 25 core computing regions worldwide and outlined a strategy it calls the Connected Cloud.

With Gecko, the goal is to inject smaller Linode-like compute capacity directly into the Akamai edge network.

Leighton pulled quote

"Akamai's new initiative, code-named Gecko, which stands for Generalized Edge Compute, combines the computing power of our cloud platform with the proximity and efficiency of the edge to put workloads closer to users than any other cloud provider," Akamai CEO Tom Leighton said during his company's earnings call.

How Gecko Expands Akamai's Cloud

With Gecko, Akamai plans to leverage its network of more than 4,100 edge locations around the world to run compute workloads closer to end users and devices. According to Leighton, traditional cloud providers support virtual machines and containers in a relatively small number of core data centers.

Gecko, however, is designed to extend cloud capability to Akamai's edge points of presence (POPs). As such, he said Akamai is bringing full-stack computing power to hundreds of previously hard-to-reach locations.

Leighton said Akamai aims to embed compute with support for virtual machines into about 100 cities by the end of the year.

"We've deployed new Gecko-architected regions in four countries already, as well as in cities that lack a concentrated hyperscaler presence," he said.

The new Gecko-architected regions include Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR); Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Querétaro, Mexico; and Johannesburg, South Africa. Additionally, Gecko is coming to a number of cities, including Bogotá, Colombia; Denver; Houston; Hamburg, Germany; and Marseille, France.

AkamaiAkamai's cloud computing roadmap

Gecko Will Serve Different Cloud Use Cases

Early customer trials of Gecko are underway. Akamai expects media, gaming, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), and internet of things (IoT) applications to be early adopters of general edge computing capabilities.

Leighton said that early feedback about Gecko from some enterprise customers has been positive.

"Their early feedback has been very encouraging, as they evaluate Gecko for tasks such as AI inferencing, deep learning for recommendation engines, data analytics, multiplayer gaming, accelerating banking transactions, personalization for e-commerce, and a variety of media workflow applications, such as transcoding," he said. "In short, I'm incredibly excited for the prospects of Gecko as we move full-stack compute to the edge."

About the author

 Sean Michael Kerner headshotSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.
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