Over the past year I spent a good amount of time looking at CDN’s (Content Delivery Network) as the company I was working for was in a position where they were not fully happy with their CDN/Security partner of record, but weren’t sure what direction to go in. I decided it was time to do a good ol’ fashioned competitive analysis of the top 4 players in the room.
The first thing I did was take a look at where Market Intelligence players like Gartner, Forrester and IDC MarketScape positioned the competitors in the CDN landscape in relation to each other. I ended up settling on IDC Marketscapes Leaders for the year, which is the equivalent of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. Their top 4 were Akamai, Amazon Cloudfront, Fastly and Cloudflare.
Next I downloaded each report that IDC Marketscape had written on each provider, and began to put a deck together where for each provider I had an overview of their features and capabilities, listed out their strengths, their challenges/weaknesses, and the three main strategic pillars each provider was built/building around. Seeing as our organization had specific requirements around delivery, security and regional access, particularly mainland China, it became clear pretty quickly who the best option was going to be.
This review process was a good exercise to go through as it gave me the clarity I needed around the differences between the primary leaders in this market and allowed me to ultimately recommend the right partner for the company based on their needs. It’s easy to assume that all CDN’s do the same thing, but you really need to get in the weeds of what each company can provide to determine if they meet your needs, because at the end of the day, not all CDN’s are created equal.