Dell Gets Into the CDN Business

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) and EdgeCast Networks Inc. have teamed up to build content delivery networks (CDNs) for service providers.

Dell Deliver, the name for the CDN effort, is being announced Wednesday, with Elemental Technologies Inc. (ETI) -- bringing technology for multiscreen distribution -- being the first of many planned partners that will round out Dell's CDN ecosystem, says Laurie Hutto-Hill, general manager of Dell's telecom and media business unit.

They'll offer pretty much any CDN model, from a fully managed network to one where Dell and EdgeCast provide the pieces and let the service provider manage it.

Dell and EdgeCast will be discussing Dell Deliver at next week's NAB Show and plan to show demos there as well.

Why this matters
This creates another alternative to a telco-owned CDN and another challenger to equipment vendors' efforts to get into CDNs. Among the talents Dell would bring to CDNs is experience at integrating the necessary pieces, including networking (through the Force10 acquisition), Hutto-Hill says.

As for why Dell should get into this business, one argument is that what's important to CDNs is not a particular networking technology, but the Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) x86 microprocessor technology. EdgeCast, for instance, claims to be profitable and credits Dell for making that possible.

"The telcos who have been talking to the Ciscos of the world about this are realizing that the guys who understand what's going on are standardizing on Intel boxes," says James Segil, president of EdgeCast. "You walk around a data center -- Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM) has a cage, Limelight Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW) has a cage, EdgeCast, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) -- they're using x86 boxes running their own software."

Dell Deliver also gives Dell a way to stand apart from HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) when it comes to telco and media customers, Hutto-Hill says. CDNs are one area that's not the traditional purview of those companies.

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— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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