CDN Asia 2014 in Singapore was the third year in a row I have hosted the event. And boy how things have changed over those three years, with several major telecom operators bullishly announcing their entry into the CDN market back in 2012 but taking a far more pragmatic and realistic view of the market now.
Some operator CDN executives – but by no means all – are now admitting that they were over ambitious in their efforts to take on global players like Akamai and Edgecast (now itself acquired by US giant Verizon) and were now scaling back their efforts and looking to find where they could provide unique value to customers.
Speaking off the record one operator executive said that many operators had entered the CDN market purely because they felt that they should be in the business because of their extensive local and international network assets – but did not have a clear CDN strategy in place.
“Many operators really did not know what they were really doing in the CDN market,” the executive said.
“Sure they had their networks but they really did not have the in-depth knowledge of what CDN clients really needed on a technical level so they had no chance against the established players like Akamai.”
The failure of the operators to really get their act together as global CDN players was perhaps best exemplified by the failure of the various efforts to create CDN inter-connection between operators or even some kind of CDN Federation.
As a result of their inability to win significant market share against the market giants many operators have now revised their ambitions to becoming dominant local rather than international players, with some even now even re-selling CDN services from Akamai and Edgecast – although some operator CDNs like Pacnet are still very much up for the fight.