Fastly is a San Francisco-based startup that touts its edge cloud platform. For Fastly, “edge cloud” means putting smaller-sized data centers closer to its big customers.
Its 35 global data centers are strategically located close to its big-brand customers in North America, Asia, and Europe, said Joshua Bixby, Fastly’s SVP of product. “The data centers are in specific locations where the underpinnings of the Internet meet,” said Bixby. “That allows a much faster route.”
Fastly offers its content delivery network (CDN), cloud networking, and cloud security with its edge cloud services. After six years of existence, the company has achieved an annualized run rate of $100 million. Some of its customers include Airbnb, Spotify, Pinterest, and Ticketmaster.
For CDN, Fastly can provide huge amounts of storage at the edge, which benefits customers with lots of long-tail content — such as Pinterest, for example. “If you look at caching in the past, the density of storage was quite limited,” said Bixby. “There is tremendous value in density when you look at the edge cloud.”
The company’s edge cloud platform is also helpful for big spikes in traffic. “Fastly’s edge cloud platform allows us to handle traffic spikes like the 8,000 percent traffic increase we saw on election night,” said Nick Rockwell, CTO at The New York Times, in a statement.
Fastly’s history comes out of the CDN space, competing against the likes of Akamai and Limelight. But with its edge cloud platform, it’s positioning itself to compete with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company has a collaboration with Google Cloud Platform that pairs Google’s cloud infrastructure with Fastly’s edge cloud platform.
Fastly recently announced three new services on its cloud platform: a web application firewall, an image optimizer, and a load balancer.
For its cloud platform, Bixby said, “We run on bare metal servers. We write our own software that sits on Arista switches. We use [Arista’s] EOS, but it allows us to put our own software on the switches as well.”**
Arista only recently began allowing third parties to put their software on its switches. About a year ago, the company began allowing Microsoft to run its Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) on Arista switches. And that’s opened the door for other companies to do the same.
Arista is moving to a more software-centric model. It recently introduced a containerized version of its Extensible Operating System (cEOS) written to run on its own hardware as well as on bare metal switches and industry standard virtual machines or containers.
Bixby said of Arista, “We are good friends with them. I think we push their switches as hard as anyone in the world.”
**Update 5/3/17 Fastly CTO Tyler McMullen clarified, “Fastly has been running its own software on Arista switches since June of 2013. We’ve used an Arista SDK since it’s been available, and we don’t use containers.”