For the last four years, industry insider and CDN market analyst at Bizety Technologies, Ernie Regalado, has been publishing an annual CDN Landscape Report. Mr. Regalado has worked in the CDN industry since 2007 and has been writing for six years, spotting many of the companies that have gone on to dominate the market while still in their early stages and highlighting the major shifts happening inside the industry, often before they’re widely noticed.
The 2019 report, which is focused on content delivery network infrastructure, cloud security, and edge computing, highlights Section’s rapid growth.
“Has anyone noticed that Section is growing up fast? The startup is doing a great job in developing its feature set, perhaps the next Fastly?” -Bizety newsletter (July)
The 2019 CDN Landscape Report
The annual Bizety CDN Landscape Report is an event in the CDN world, anticipated and widely read in the U.S. and beyond. This year, Regalado has co-written it with Jim Davis, principal analyst for Edge Research Group. Their report offers a comprehensive set of insights into the state of the current CDN industry, including the authors’ views on “where the market is headed in 2020 and beyond”. In it, they take a look at the top 50 CDN vendors in the market, in addition to several more that are currently in stealth mode. The overall focus this year is on “the accelerating shift to security and edge compute services”.
Along with a future forecast, the report offers market revenue figures for 2018 and a comparative analysis of vendors in different segments, including media delivery, e-commerce, security services, and edge computing. While its main focus is on the major CDN players, it also looks at disruptive startups, particularly those that are looking beyond “simply trying to become a CDN” to create a new space in the market.
Edge Computing is Driving Growth
In defining the edge, Bizety/Edge Research Group ask what marks the difference between earlier usage of the word “edge” and its widespread use today by CDN vendors across the gamut. The answer in one word: “control”.
“In the past, CDNs maintained absolute control of their PoPs: clients did not have control over resources in those PoPs because running software at the edge could disturb existing software services. That is no longer the case. CDNs are beginning to embrace edge compute, providing their clients with the ability to programmatically invoke functions that the vendor has developed.”
The Report predicts that edge computing will be a primary factor in new feature development across the CDN industry across the next two to five years. It suggests that edge compute alongside network access will be “the foundation for another high wave of growth” over the next 18 months.
Four Edge Leaders: Fastly, Section, Cloudflare, Stackpath
While Bizety/Edge Research Group note that CDNs across the industry are increasingly looking to add edge services and use edge branding, in the section discussing leading vendors in the edge computing/CDN space, the authors hone in on just four companies: Cloudflare, Fastly, StackPath and Section.
“This group of CDNs are leaders in edge computing product innovation. They have developed edge functions and edge processing capabilities into their technology stack.” -2019 CDN Landscape Report (Bizety/Edge Research Group)
What sets Section apart is the edge focus that the platform has adopted from the beginning. Co-founders Stewart McGrath and Daniel Bartholomew created Section to make edge computing more accessible for developers and DevOps engineers. Section’s Edge Compute Platform enables the next generation of flexible applications that live closer to the end-user while still providing the computational power necessary for complex networked experiences.
The Section platform was built to give DevOps teams choice and control in selecting where and when to run edge workloads. Developers can select from a wide array of open source tools and integrations. Bizety and Edge Research Group highlight the rich feature set Section offers within what it describes as a “pure-play edge platform as a service” that happens to support CDN services (the report notes that Fastly began its life in a similar way). While Section is the smallest in terms of current employee size and funding mentioned among the leading edge players, it is given the same high valuation as the three larger companies and is the only startup highlighted in the Report’s top five insights.
For additional insights, you can also read Bizety’s CDN Industry Buzz for Q3 – 2019.