IBC 2018 Reflections: Akamai’s Joachim Hengge Dissects the Company’s New Solutions That Bolster Cloud Connectivity and Delivery

For some time now, Akamai Technologies has reigned as one of the top video-delivery–solutions providers in the global media industry. At the recent IBC Show in Amsterdam, the company made a couple of big product announcements (not something it does every day!) that are expected to help take its delivery services into a new stratosphere of efficiency and cost-effectiveness in a media industry rapidly moving many centralized workflows into a cloud environment.

Akamai’s Joachim Hengge (right) with Chris Nicholson at the company’s IBC booth in Amsterdam

In response to that evolution, Akamai unveiled Akamai Cloud Wrapper and Akamai Direct Connect, both intended to help make the company’s elite delivery service more customizable, flexible, and useful in a new cloud-based world.

To start, Akamai Cloud Wrapper is a compelling addition that enhances the connection between public cloud infrastructures and the Akamai Intelligent Edge. The goal is to eliminate barriers to over-the-top (OTT) delivery in cloud environments.

“We’re seeing more of the value-added workflow stuff — packaging, live transcoding — moving into public clouds, but, for those large events like the World Cup, we peaked at 23.8 terabits per second during the Final. Users really want to leverage the quality and scale that we can provide,” says Joachim Hengge, senior product manager, media services, Akamai Technologies. “When you have a best-of-breed workflow solution, we’re the best-of-breed delivery solution.”

Basically, Cloud Wrapper provides a dedicated cache footprint within Akamai’s delivery network that wraps around the centralized cloud infrastructure to maximize origin offload and reduce origin requests. It also is designed to minimize egress fees for streaming TV. According to Akamai reps, it’s in beta right now, with a goal of having a broader release sometime in 2018 Q4 or 2019 Q1.

The Akamai Direct Connect offering enables customers that manage their own origin infrastructure to have a dedicated, private connection to the Akamai Edge network, rather than using a shared source over the public internet. Naturally, this sets users up for better performance across the board.

“For our live solutions where there’s an encoder to an entry point,” says Hengge, “you don’t push over the public internet, which is a big thing because we’ve been working hard to ensure that we are delivering a consistent, high-quality stream with accelerated ingest and everything. If you are able to directly connect the encoder to the live entry point for live streaming as well, you don’t necessarily have to care about that anymore. You can focus on the delivery and the workflow.”

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