The voracity of Distributed Denial of Service attacks is causing content delivery network provider Akamai Technologies to expand its global network. The company has opened a data center in Japan to improve its DDoS prevention capabilities. The data center was launched in early October and is now fully operational.
It is in a region where Akamai has seen an increase in DDoS attacks. Regional "DDoS scrubbing" centers are located close to where DDoS attacks originate as part of the strategy. Two additional regional data centers will come online in 2015, one in Japan and another in the EMEA region.
A DDoS attack makes a machine or network unavailable by flooding the victim with requests so that legitimate users can’t access services properly. The “distributed” part means more than one person, or bot, attacking at once. Akamai notes that there’s been a big increase in DDoS attacks recently.
In addition to helping effectively distribute content at high performance to distributed end users, there is a growing security play for the CDN provider. Akamai uses its network to identify and stop unwanted traffic such as DDoS. At the data center, malicious traffic will be "scrubbed" before the remaining clean traffic routes back to the network.
The U.S. is still the biggest source of these attacks, accounting for nearly a quarter. However, attacks originating from Asia Pacific have increased over the last 18 months, according to Akamai’s State of Security and quarterly State of the Internet reports. (form required). These numbers are surging due to DDoS-related malware.
Akamai needs a lot of distributed capacity in order to effectively provide its services. The company usually chooses the most connected colocation data centers in a given market. As of last September, it had 150,000 servers embedded inside networks in over 90 countries.
The company views its breadth of infrastructure as a differentiator in the CDN space and security as a growth area, according to Greg Lord, who oversees enterprise product marketing at Akamai.
The third quarter was record setting for DDoS attacks. Average peak bandwidth increased 80 percent, compared to the previous quarter, and 389 percent from the same period a year ago. There was a 321 Gigabits per second (Gbps) attack and 16 other attacks that each peaked above 100 Gbps.
There have been several recent high-profile DDoS attacks. One recent victim in Japan was Sony. In addition to the recent big hack, the Playstation Network underwent a DDoS attack affecting services. Hosting provider 1&1 was hit with a DDoS attack earlier this month, which took its service down for 12 hours.
Emerging markets follow the U.S. in terms of attack origination. China accounts for 20 percent and Brazil accounts for 18 percent. Japan is seventh with 4 percent.
"This new state-of-the-art data center improves network performance for our clients in Japan while significantly increasing network capacity in the Asia Pacific region," said John Summers, vice president, Security Business Unit, Akamai. "Locating another scrubbing center in Japan also enables more clients to access Akamai's global DDoS mitigation network."
Akamai is the leader in the CDN space, but has seen increasing competition and pricing pressure. As traffic increases, CDN’s role in enabling a good end user experience and secure delivery increases too.
Other commercial CDN providers include Limelight Networks, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Level 3, Internap and Rackspace, among many others.. Recent entrants to the larger CDN space include Fastly who which focuses on dynamic content, and Instart Logic, which raised $26 million for its “CDN Replacement” technology.