Monday, October 26, 2020

Google CDN Vs Akamai CDN - Is your digital platform is running in GCP? Do you need another CDN like AKAMAI?

 Google CDN Vs Akamai CDN - A detailed comparison

 Content Delivery Network is an important part of the internet business. Whether its simple search, the end-user looks for speed while browsing. It provides the following primary benefits to a business.

ü  Performance

ü  Availability

ü  Security

ü  Intelligence

Before we even dive into details, let us understand

CDN (Content delivery Network) is a distributed network and storage service that hosts content in different geographical regions around the world.

Its content can be HTML pages, multimedia files, styles sheets and so on. CDN is optimized for speed and faster performance. They literally move the content closer to the users. Thereby, reducing latency and downtime.  Some of the major CDN service providers are Google Cloud CDN, Akamai’s cloud CDN etc.

What is Google Cloud CDN and Akamai’s cloud CDN?

Google cloud CDN leverages the globally distributed edge points of google to speed up the content delivery for websites and applications.

Users can enable the Cloud CDN once they are successfully set-up HTTP(S) Load Balancing, that too with a single check box.

Cloud CDN response flow:

Akamai’s CDN is built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform, a distributed network of servers and intelligent software that successfully manages the complexities of the online business. It serves as much as 30% of all internet traffic and delivers more than two trillion interactions per day.

Getting more details…

How does Google cloud CDN improves web performance?

By using the external HTTP(S) load balancer improves web performance b settling up HTTP(S) connections on Google’s global edge closer to requesting client and by negotiating connections with modern protocols such as QUIC, HTTP/2 and TLS 1.3 to reduce number of round trips and enhance throughput.

Following are the multiple ways in which Cloud CDN improves the performance,

ü  Offloads and scales your backend infrastructure by reducing requests

ü  Serves the static assets from the edge network

ü  Reduces your egress and backend infrastructure costs

Cache modes in Cloud CDN

A cacheable response is an HTTP response that cloud CDN can store and quickly retrieve, thus allowing for faster load times. 

Cloud CDN offers three cache modes, you can control the factors that determines whether Cloud CDN caches your content.

Cache Modes



Requires origin responses to set valid cache directives and valid caching headers.


Automatically caches static content that doesn't have the no-storeprivate, or no-cache directive. Origin responses that set valid caching directives are also cached.


Unconditionally caches responses, overring any cache directives set by the origin. Make sure not to cache private, per-user content (such as dynamic HTML or API responses) if using a shared backend with this mode configured.


  Google Cloud CDN cache invalidation

After an object is cached, it normally remains in the cache until it expires to make a room for the new content. We can control the expiration time through standard HTTP headers.

You can force an object or set of objects to be ignored by cache by requesting a cache invalidation. Each invalidation request specifies a path pattern that identifies the object that should be invalidated.

If you have URLs that contain a query string, for example /images.php?image=Tom.png, you cannot selectively invalidate objects that differ only by query string. For example, if you have two images, /images.php?image=Tom.png and /images.php?image=henley.png, you cannot invalidate only fred.png. To invalidate all images served by images.php, use /images.php as the path pattern.

Invalidating cached content

How does Cloud CDN secure your application?

Google Cloud Armor for advanced web protection

Google Cloud Armor provides DDoS and application layer defense working in conjunction with external HTTP(S) load balancers. It is delivered at the edge of Google’s network, helping to defend against infrastructure and application attacks close to their source.

Following are the multiple ways in which Google Cloud Armor improves protection,

ü  Automatically blocks most volumetric DDoS attacks

ü  Has pre-configured WAF rules to help detect and mitigate common applications attacks

ü  Detects and blocks by geographical source and IP addresses or IP ranges.

ü  Provides visibility to monitor and mitigate application layer HTTP(S) attacks.


Applications can use the following protocols when they use the Cloud CDN configured data plane to communicate.



Managed SSL (TLS) certificates (no additional cost)


Bring-your-own SSL (TLS) certificates (no additional cost)


Customizable SSL policies (versions, ciphers)


Encryption at rest


Audit logging


Comparison between Cloud CDN and Akamai’s CDN


Google Cloud CDN

Akamai’s Cloud CDN


Through an existing HTTPS Load balancing.

User needs to register and create an account.

Web content acceleration

ü  Provides a low-latency content delivery solution. With more than 130 POP worldwide and accelerated content delivery using Google Edge network, make the fastest SSL CDN globally.

ü  CDNPerf reports that Google cloud CDN performs better than Akamai and other CDN providers.

ü  Dynamic Site Accelerator pulls and caches content continuously onto servers that are close to end users.

ü  Akamai also provides pervasive POP (130 POP) which are highly scalable.

High quality image and video delivery

ü Fast, consistent, reliable web and video content delivery with global scale and reach.

ü Activates with a single click for cloud load balancing users.

ü  Image and video manger intelligently optimize both image and video with combination of quality, format and size.

ü  Deliver all derivative renditions at the edge.

Cache invalidation



Cloud Security

ü  Google Cloud Armor security policies protects the applications running behind a load balancer. These security policies can be integrated at the Edge network in Google’s POP.

ü  Integrate with preconfigured rules for XSS, SQLi, LFI and RCE attacks.

ü  Edge DNS, an authoritative DNS service and other cloud security solutions

ü  Cloud security solutions secure web sites and data centers reducing the risk of downtime and DDoS attacks.



Cloud CDN is tightly integrated with Cloud Monitoring and Cloud Logging, providing detailed latency matrix out-of-the-box.

Cloud monitor API can be integrated with existing monitoring tools or leverage out-of-the-box integration with Splunk and SumoLogic.

Authentication & Time-Limited resources Access

ü  A signed URL provides limited permission and time to make the request.

ü  It contains Authentication information in their query strings, allowing users without credentials to perform actions on a resource.

ü  No

Compliance standard




ü  Charged for bandwidth and HTTP/HTTPS request

ü  On cache hits, pay for cache egress bandwidth and on cache misses, additional pay for cache fill bandwidth.

ü  Provides a minimum 12 months of contract terms.

ü  Pricing is based on contract terms and specific to the features opted by the customer.

How good is Google’s CDN, anyway…?

With many Google data-centers around the world, Cloud CDN increases the speed of website delivery. They have a comprehensive set of security protocols, SSL included in the platform costs and super easy integration into other google cloud products via GCP console. They also support newer protocols like HTTP/2 and cache validation, further decreasing latency for website loading. Most importantly, Google ensures a very high standard SLA and up-time – combining this with their vast amount of locations of data centers which keeps the internet humming 24/7.

On the other hand, Akamai’s CDN interface named as Luna Control Center does not have an intuitive UI to configure and does not provide reliable customer support. It is mostly costly and proven very expensive for small organizations that are not scaled. One of the major benefits of having a google cloud CDN is that user can connect to a Cloud Storage Bucket and serve the content directly from it. According to a recent benchmark by CDNPerf, Google Cloud CDN is typically four to six milliseconds faster than the rest of the contenders.

Final Thoughts

Google Cloud CDN may be the ‘new kid on the block’ compared with major CDN providers, but their offering is of serious consideration. Hence figure out our needs and see if Google CDN can help improve the performance for the end users.

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