Akamai picks up stream processing startup Concord


Analytics appears to be taking on a bigger role in Akamai Technologies Inc.’s growth plans. The content delivery giant today announced that it has acquired Concord Systems Inc., the New York-based startup behind the open-source stream processing engine of the same name.

The framework employs Apache Mesos to handle the logistics of distributing analytics workflows within large-scale deployments. Its integration with the cluster manager makes it possible to execute new computations, update existing ones and make other runtime changes without incurring any downtime. As a result, Concord says, developers are able to quickly tweak their algorithms when a new data source or business requirement emerges.

Concord’s website claims that it can provide up to 10 times more throughput than better-known alternatives such as Apache Spark and Apache Storm while maintaining millisecond-level latency. Project creator Shinji Kim told TechRepublic in May that the only major weak point of the engine is its relatively limited processing accuracy, but Akamai should be able to easily reconcile the issue with its goals for the acquisition.

The company said in the buyout announcement that it plans on using Concord to support “customers leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies”, an effort that will persunably involve analyzing machine-generated transmissions. Such data tends to be generated in massive volumes that are typically examined by analysts as a whole rather than one log at a time, which should go a long way towards mitigating Concord’s accuracy limitations. The only question is precisely what use cases Akamai will target.

One possibility is that the vendor may use the acquisition to enhance its lineup of carrier solutions, which already includes some analytics functionality. Akamai could employ Concord to help network operators gain new insight into the growing number of connected devices that are being hooked up to their infrastructure and identify ways to streamline operations.

The company also could employ the project to identify malicious activity patterns in the connected universe, which is emerging as a serious threat to its core website optimization business. Akamai was recently forced to withdraw its support to journalist Brian Krebs’ security blog after it got hit by a historic distributed denial of service attack that is believed to have originated from an Internet of Things botnet.

Either way, the acquisition of Concord indicates Akamai’s deeper focus on analytics. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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