As you may have heard, Akamai acquired Blaze today.
This is obviously big news for Blaze, and we’re thoroughly excited about it. Beyond that, we see this as a big moment for the field of Front-End Optimization (FEO), and for the goal of making the web faster. Having Akamai provide an automated FEO solution will make this technology easily available to thousands of the top websites in the world, and make a real impact on the web.
We see Akamai as a great home for both the Blaze team and technology, here are some of the reasons why.
The Evolving CDN
CDNs have been around for a while, and have evolved as the web evolved.
At first, CDNs were focused on caching static content across the globe. Whether it’s big software downloads or page resources like scripts and images, temporary copies were created all around the globe. Since most websites were static, serving a file from a nearby Edge made web pages much faster.
Over time, websites transformed into highly dynamic beasts, and couldn’t simply be cached. CDNs like Akamai and others rose to the challenge, and provided Dynamic Site Acceleration (DSA). New algorithms leverage thousands of synchronized servers for transferring data more efficiently, avoiding redundant downloads and more, thus accelerating dynamic content.
As the web evolved, technology adapted.
The Browser – The New Frontier
However, the web didn’t stop with dynamic content. Today, a new world of possibilities exists inside the browser itself. Modern browsers are practically operating systems, exposing powerful and complicated capabilities to websites, supporting desktop-like experiences over the web.
Such systems are at the core of Front-End Optimization (FEO), and are a natural next step for a CDN today. There’s no doubt caching and DSA will remain critical for the foreseeable future, but without FEO, you can only go so far. The combined solution of CDN and FEO is what’s really exciting – accelerating every step between the server and a usable page – but I’ll get to that later.
Mobile – The New(er) Frontier
Obviously, the evolution of the web doesn’t stop. Browsers may be a fairly new arena for automated performance optimization, but an even newer world is already here. Mobile, and more specifically the Mobile Web (if such a thing exists), is already here at full strength, and is growing by the second.
Like the modern browser, Mobile devices and networks enable exciting new opportunities. Like the modern browser, these opportunities create their own performance challenges, such as high latency networks and low-powered devices. And like the modern browser, these techniques cannot be solved without expanding the reach beyond what CDNs do today.
Blaze has been focused on Mobile from the start, building Mobitest, researching mobile browsers and more. Akamai is no less focused on Mobile but using completely different solutions, like putting a CDN edge inside an antenna. Combining what Blaze does with what Akamai does (and adding what we’ll do together) is the way to get toa true solution for accelerating mobile websites.
Oh, The Possibilities!
Right now, our heads are still spinning. We’re eager to start the next phase in Blaze’s life, excited about Blaze’s success, and it’s possible we had too much to drink last night…
But what’s most exciting is how big we can think within Akamai. We imagine what can we do with 100,000 servers ready to help; with the ability to traverse the web dramatically faster than before; with the help of the brilliant engineers at Akamai, and the platform that the biggest sites in the world rely on.
We have many ideas. We want to optimize your page milliseconds away from the browser, whether mobile or desktop. We want to leverage edge computing to reduce load on the client. We want to anticipate the user’s next move and get data to the edge or browser ahead of time. And of course we want to keep digging into browser internals, and squeeze the last millisecond for every browser…
We want to do a lot, and as a part of Akamai we have no doubt we will.
So a huge thanks to the amazing Blaze team that got us to this point. Thanks to our great customers who helped shape our system and build what they really need. Also thank you to the web performance community, who help spread the word and urge site owners and vendors to focus on speed.
We’ll now take a deep breath, soak it in for another moment, and get back to making the web faster, phase 2.