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Rackspace Taps Akamai for CDN

Rackspace Hosting has turned to Akamai Technologies to provide Web acceleration and its content delivery network (CDN) to Rackspace's cloud and hosted services customers.

The two companies this week disclosed a partnership that will let Rackspace embed Akamai's CDN portfolio into its own suite of services.

Akamai is regarded as the leading CDN provider, which offers content acceleration via high availability and Web caching. The company said it has a network of 77,000 servers dispersed throughout 71 countries. Rackspace will initially offer Akamai's services on a professional services basis but intends to embed them into its offerings starting in the second quarter.

"As we get more customers that are using cloud and dedicated hosting and then hybrid hosting -- connecting them both -- we see all sorts of potential for both of our companies to come up with solutions to help customers better serve their Web application content across the globe as quickly as possible," said Jim Battenberg, Rackspace's cloud evangelist, in an interview.

More and more, cloud providers are looking to CDNs to enhance their offerings, particularly where availability and performance is critical. Amazon Web Services in November released its own CDN offering, called CloudFront.

Initially Rackspace wants to embed Akamai's CNAMES, SSL streaming and core CDN delivery into its Cloud Files offering. Cloud Files is Rackspace's service for storing files and streaming media. Furthermore, Rackspace said it will resell various app acceleration services to both its cloud and managed hosting customers.

It is less clear how Rackspace will offer Akamai's services to its hosted services customers. "On the managed hosting side of our business we are working now on defining what those services are and what that will look like to the market," Battenberg said.

Hosting and cloud services customers over time won't have "to deal with two vendors," said Andy Rubinson, Akamai's senior product marketing manager for application acceleration. "They [will be] able to set up their agreements through Rackspace to give them everything they need to get from the Rackspace host to the end user,"

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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