Friends who know about IT outsourcing like my pal Tony Greenberg of RampRate, have been telling me for years that it's more than just price and SLA's that you have to look for when enterprise scale companies look to make decisions on their purchasing of IT services.
Well it looks like Netflix has taken that type of thinking to heart when they made a decision to shift their Content Delivery Network (CDN) business over to Level3.
For years Akamai has had a vey good run at taking hold of the CDN market, but upstarts like LimeLight and stalwarts like AT&T and Level3 have robust networks of their own and the ability to offer the CDN and more. But Netflix isn't the only content company that is going away from Akamai. A few weeks back Apple announced their deployment of their own data distribution center in North Carolina. For a long time Apple was very loyal to Akamai, but the winds of change are upon companies in the data services business, and while some may call it the Amazon effect at the bottom where their Web Services based offering CloudFront are causing market shake up with startups, companies like RackSpace, SoftLayer with a CDN offering and Joyent are all delivering benefits that previously Akamai was the only kid on the block peddling.
The Netflix move to Level3 at the high end is the tip of the iceberg, or may even be the unwanted tipping point the other way for Akamai, which may see the hockey-stick growth curve, turned upside down. If that happens, Level3, may really be the bigger goal scorer in 2011.