Reaching a milestone: largest CDN by network count

Reflections on Edgemesh’s announcement today, what it means for us and the broader CDN market

A little over a year ago, we had an idea. What if we could change the way content was delivered around the globe so that it was faster, more reliable and dramatically lower cost? What if we could utilize peer to peer technology to fundamentally change the physics of how the web works today and bring edge caching past the last mile network? What if we could build a new kind of global CDN.

It all started simple enough. We spent the first few months analyzing how content delivery networks work today : the economics of those models, the success of new players in the space, the high degree of similarity amongst the offerings … but mostly we kept coming back to the inherent complexity of deploying and maintaining a global CDN.

Make no mistake, CDNs are amazing and the problem of distributing and validating cached content across the globe is really, really, really hard. There’s a good reason the market has grown in excess of 20% CAGR for more than 20 years now … caching is hard.

There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.
— Phil Karlton

Rather than deploying servers around the globe and having to navigate the complex world of network peering, what if we moved the problem all the way to the edge? What if the browsers themselves could communicate directly, peer to peer and replicate content across each other? Would it work?

In many ways, edgemesh is about taking the large, expensive and incredibly complex problem of deploying globally distributed caches — and simplifying it.

The first prototype was crude, but even then we could see how this was absolutely the way forward. No servers. No DNS changes. No crawlers. Just a single line of JavaScript and boom, the page was mesh accelerated and scaled in lockstep with the number of users.

Complexity doesn’t always win

Starting a company is brutal

Anyone who says otherwise either:

a) Hasn’t ever started a company


b) Is attempting to trick you into joining their company

In the past 15 months, there’s been little time for anything but Edgemesh. It takes relentless focus not only get a new technology off the ground, but to get a company off the ground. Today we took a quick look back at the punchcard of code commits to edgemesh and it shows what our friends and family will tell you: doing a startup is like compressing 5 years of work into a single year.

Edgemesh GitHub commit Punchcard: Circles denote source code activity

We knew it was going to be hard, and luckily this wasn’t our first rodeo together, but before we wrote a single line of code, we all sat down and jotted down some important milestones.

Milestones not only help you look forward (help persevere through tough times) but they also serve as breadcrumbs help remind you how far you’ve come thus far (as you’re working up the strength to continue to push forward).

At Edgemesh we have a long list of milestones, some of which we’ve talked about before … but today is a massive one:

Edgemesh now operates caches on more networks globally than any other CDN on the planet.

Why Network Diversification Matters

Akamai, the market leader in global content delivery has, in many ways, been our north star. As one of (if not the) most interconnected companies on the planet, Akamai’s sheer scale is staggering.

Akamai (left) POPs and Cloudflare (right) POPs via Shodan

So a little more than a year ago we set a target of matching Akamai’s 1,650 networks within 18 months.

At the time it seemed like a ridiculous target- something we’d reach eventually but certainly not that quickly.

We did it in 3 months.

And we doubled it (crossing 3,300 networks) in just under 6 months.

Global Network Growth, Weekly

Having scale is fantastic and certainly appeals to the engineering side of the company, but the most important thing is … what do our customers think?

“At Equinix, we have a bird’s eye view of new and exciting network and performance companies which is where we met the team at Edgemesh. We were able to add Edgemesh to our IOA Knowledge Base site in under an hour, and by the end of that same day we saw a 2x improvement in page load time and a more than 30% reduction in server bandwidth. Once in a while we see something that we believe can cause a paradigm shift in an industry, and we believe we’re seeing one right now with Edgemesh and other innovative, edge computing solutions.”
-Brian Lillie, Chief Customer Officer & EVP Technology Services at Equinix
“We clearly like to go fast and we couldn’t have a website showing some of the fastest cars in the world with a 6 second download. With Edgemesh we cut our page load time in half to 2.9 seconds, matching the 0–60 time of our Maclaren 570S
-Zac Moseley, CoFounder, Classic Car Club Manhattan

So for us, today is a massive day. We’ve shown that not only does this new model scale globally — but we’ve been able to prove unequivocally that adding Edgemesh to even the best CDN will still add diversity, performance and scale.

Sample: Edgemesh Customer Mesh Network : 9/14/18

All with a single line of JavaScript.

Thank you to all our customers, our family and friends, our dozens of partners and the entire Edgemesh team.

Now… onto the next milestone …

Media Contacts:
Hiwot Wolde-Senbet/Danielle Simko
Articulate Communications
[email protected]