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November 10, 2022

Akamai and Macrometa In Global Data Network Hookup

(Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock)

Akamai, the massive content delivery network (CDN) keeping the Internet working like you expect it to, this week announced that it’s partnering with–and taking a stake in–a distributed data platform startup named Macrometa. The combination of the two vendors’ wares creates this tantalizing possibility: A global data mesh delivering low-latency applications from 4,200 points of service around the world.

Since it was founded at the beginning of the dot-com boom in 1998, Akamai Technologies has grown to become the world’s dominant CDN. Many of the world’s biggest content providers, such as Netflix, cache their content in Akamai storage arrays and servers strategically located at Internet chokepoints around the world, thereby lowering network latency and improving the customer experience for billions of users.

It’s hard to overstate Akamai’s impact on the Internet. However, since it works behind the scenes, it’s not as visible as its customers’ services. On any given day, anywhere from 15% to 30% of the Internet’s traffic flows through Akamai’s network. Earlier this year, it delivered a record 250 terabits of data per second, which truly is an astonishing amount of data.

Macrometa, on the other hand, is just getting started in the big data business, but it has a promising future. The genesis of the company was the dearth of a distributed database that could simultaneously serve fast queries based on massive amounts of real-time and historical data. Many big data architects have tried to solve this problem by cobbling together different technologies (see: architectures, Lambda, Kappa) or using exotic hardware (see: atomic clocks, Google Cloud Spanner), but the systems typically are expensive, brittle, and have limitations. So Macrometa’s founders decided to try their hand at building their own.

Macrometa points of presence (PoPs) before the Akamai partnership

What Macrometa CEO Chetan Venkatesh and his co-founder, Durga Gokina, essentially built is a full data stack capable of absorbing trillions of events per second while also delivering sub-second queries on that fresh data as well as historical data. Leveraging a new concept called conflict-free replicated data types (CRDTs), Macrometa delivers ACID guarantees on globally distributed JSON data.

When you combine that CRDT breakthrough with a new event ingestion system (as well as a sprinkling of open source data tech, such as RocksDB and, the result is a database that functions as four systems in one: a full Postgres database, a pub/sub system like Kafka, and a complex event processing system like Flink, along with compute engine. Users can interact with streaming data via SQL, as if it were a regular database table, and get sub-second responses on massive data flows.

Instead of selling shrink-wrapped software that customers use themselves, the company built its own processing network spread out over 175 data centers around the world, and then essentially rents access to it to companies that needs low-latency access to real-time, globally consistent data, such as telecom giant Cox Communications. You can read more about Macrometa’s technology and business model in our September article, “Has Macrometa Cracked the Code for Global, Real-Time Data?”

Macrometa’s resemblance to Akamai’s business and delivery model was too great, apparently, because now Akamai is not only partnering with Macrometa to expand its global data network (GDN), but it has also taken a stake in the Palo Alto, California startup too.

The two companies announced their intent to integrate their respective technologies in a bid to “fundamentally transform the way enterprise app builders architect and run real-time, data-driven web services.” Instead of Macrometa’s GDN being available at 400 global locations, with Akamai’s backing, it will soon be available at 4,200 points around the globe, which could be a game-changer for a range of applications, including online multiplayer gaming, e-sports experiences, e-commerce, SaaS, IoT, and video streaming services.

Akamai says its customers will be able to use Macrometa’s GDN to “build and run applications directly on Akamai’s edge network with one click.”

“Macrometa will automate all parts of the edge DevOps workflow, including generating the code, compiling them into Akamai EdgeWorkers, deploying the edge workers across thousands of Akamai locations, and providing real-time observability, logging, and performance for apps built on the GDN and running on Akamai,” the companies say in a press release.

Macrometa CEO Venkatesh says the partnership will “greatly simplify” the amount of work required to build and deploy apps on the edge, and “provide a level of elegance and velocity”  that allows faster time-to-market.

“The ability to create these kinds of applications, at the speed and velocity that enterprise requires, looks like magic to the casual observer,” Venkatesh says in a press release. “But that is the beauty of what this super platform does. We’re thrilled to be working with Akamai not only as an investor, but as an ongoing partner, as well.”

The exact amount of Akamai’s stake in Macrometa was not disclosed.

Related Items:

Has Macrometa Cracked the Code for Global, Real-Time Data?

Is Real-Time Streaming Finally Taking Off?

7 Reference Architectures for Real-Time Analytics

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. Macrometa did not raise a $38 million Series B on November 9, as reported by Crunchbase, and the company has not raised $65.9 million to date.  Datanami regrets the error.