Cloudflare vs Akamai: Network as a Service (NaaS) Comparison

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Network as a service (NaaS) is a cloud service model that enables users to subscribe to networking services, such as hardware, software, licenses, lifecycle services and management tools from a cloud vendor without owning, and constructing or maintaining their own infrastructure.

These flexible operating expense (OpEx) subscriptions enable organizations to consume network infrastructure without having to worry about capital expenses for physical networks or the planning, deployment, and expertise of installing and configuring infrastructure.

NaaS models provide network agility and help information technology (IT) teams track service-level agreements (SLAs) and service-level objectives (SLOs). In a nutshell, NaaS models provide a return on investment (ROI), enabling users to trade capital expense (CapEx) for OpEx and refocus time and energy on more pressing matters.

The benefits of NaaS models include:

  • IT automation and simplicity
  • Global coverage
  • Enhanced security
  • Complete network visibility and insights
  • Flexibility and customization
  • Improved application experience
  • Scalability

In this guide, you will learn all you should know about the NaaS providers Cloudflare and Akamai.

Also read: 7 Enterprise Networking Trends to Watch in 2022

Cloudflare One

Screenshot of Cloudflare One

Cloudflare’s Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Cloudflare One, is a zero trust NaaS platform that delivers network resources to users in a secure manner. With a network of over 250 cities, Cloudflare One helps IT teams run their network at the edge of the internet.

The solution offers zero trust functionality, distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation, traffic acceleration, and network firewalling. 

Key Differentiators 

  • Cloudflare One combines NaaS with zero trust security on a specially designed global network. 
  • The solution connects users to network resources in a simple and secure manner without the need for a virtual private network (VPN) and blocks phishing, malware, ransomware, and lateral movement.
  • Cloudflare One offers simple deployment and management—every service runs in each of the 250+ cities associated with the Cloudflare network.
  • Every data center offers single-pass traffic routing and inspection, giving all users the same level of protection, without losing speed due to the trombone effect or latency.
  • The solution supports the cloud, endpoint, and identity providers you already use. Integrations include Azure, Okta, AD, CrowdStrike, and SentinelOne. 
  • Block known and unknown threats by enforcing network, hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), domain name system (DNS), and browser isolation rules with unlimited secure sockets layer (SSL) inspection.
  • Other services include firewall as a service (FWaaS), WAN as a service (Magic WAN), and several onramps.

Pricing: Reach out to the Cloudflare sales team for custom pricing, billed annually.  

Akamai Content Delivery Network

screenshot of Akamai's Content Delivery Network

Akamai’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a NaaS solution that focuses on content delivery to enable you to create exceptional digital experiences. The scale (4,200+ cities and 1,400+ networks) and agility of Akamai Intelligent Edge will help you deliver these experiences without any delays. 

Key Differentiators 

  • Optimize application programming interface (API) availability and performance while enhancing user experiences.
  • With CloudTest, stress test your applications and websites with vigorous, real-time load testing.
  • DataStream enables you to obtain an inside look at CDN performance with continuous log data at scale.
  • Intelligent load balancing enables you to avoid outages and optimize application performance.
  • With Image & Video Manager, you can optimize visual media on the fly.
  • Ion provides adaptive acceleration, intelligent routing, and script management.
  • mPulse helps measure ROI, optimize website performance, and capture user experience data.
  • Media delivery features include Cloud Wrapper, high-performance edge delivery, download delivery (large files for example), media analytics, live media services, and NetStorage.

Pricing: Contact the Akamai sales team for custom pricing (depending on the services you require).  

Cloudflare vs. Akamai

We have summarized the key features of the NaaS providers in the form of a table:

Meets Requirements
Ease of Use
Ease of Setup
Ease of Administration
Ease of Doing Business With
Evaluation and Contracting
Planning and Transition
Delivery and Execution
Single Pane Management
Security Services
Service and Support
Willingness to Recommend
Overall Capability Score

Choosing NaaS Providers

Both NaaS providers offer an abundance of stellar features. While the table indicates that Cloudflare is the better of the two, Akamai is a remarkable solution. If you are looking for a versatile NaaS solution, Cloudflare One is the better option.

If you require a content delivery solution, Akamai Content Delivery Network will help you craft marvelous digital experiences. Mind you, Cloudflare offers a CDN as well—Cloudflare CDN.

Dive further into what Cloudflare and Akamai have to offer by visiting their respective websites, reviewing plans and pricing, analyzing customer reviews on leading peer insights platforms, and doing whatever else is necessary to make an informed purchase decision.

Read next: NetOps vs DevOps: Bringing Automation to the Network

Surajdeep Singh
Surajdeep Singh
Surajdeep Singh has been working as an IT and blockchain journalist since 2018. He is a contributor to publications including IT Business Edge, Enterprise Networking Planet & Smart Billions and works as a consultant at Drofa Communications Agency.

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