PacketZoom.com recently analyzed the top 100 websites (according to Alexa) and compared it with the top 100 mobile apps to see if there were any differences in vendor choice between more traditional web properties and the more modern mobile space. The data unsurprisingly shows that Akamai is still leading the market with around 35% market share and Fastly, Verizon, and Amazon CloudFront combined owning a roughly equal portion. This pie chart is unlikely to change much in the near future with most large enterprises choosing to go with well known names like Akamai, Verizon, and Amazon that tend to have large network capacities and good long-term reputations.
Now let’s take a look at the top 100 mobile apps. This group is primarily made up of startups that have only been around a few years but have skyrocketed in popularity as more and more people rely on mobile devices over desktop. Some of the most recognizable apps include Uber, Snapchat, Instagram, and Netflix. Interestingly, the results show Amazon CloudFront crushing their competitors with over 40% market share. Akamai comes in second at about 14% and Verizon in 3rd with 11%. It’s also notable that Google’s brand new CDN has an 8.1% market share despite being very small and feature limited.
So why is Cloudfront dominating the mobile space? It’s surely not because it’s the fastest or the cheapest option out there. Cloudfront owns this space because a large portion of new startups, especially in the mobile space, rely entirely on AWS for all their cloud services like EC2, elasticache, and S3. Since CloudFront integrates easily with other AWS services, it appears most developers are simply sticking with Amazon out of simplicity (Amazon also makes it cost prohibitive to transfer data from S3 to other CDNs). I would imagine this is the same reason Google CDN is on the tail of established CDNs like Verizon and Akamai, despite being an inferior service.
This is certainly a troubling trend for traditional CDNs who do not offer a full stack of cloud services to cater to developers and small startups. As new tech companies continue to follow a cloud-first infrastructure strategy, companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft will likely continue to take even more market share away from them by winning business early on and watching their early stage startup customers blossom into massive organizations with exploding CDN needs.