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OnApp launches, tapping spare capacity of federated service providers

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The British federated cloud company OnApp has launched, a new brand for selling pay-as-you-go content delivery network (CDN) services directly to companies around the world.

OnApp started out selling cloud orchestration software to hosting providers that wanted to get into the public cloud business. Over time, the firm built a sizeable federation of service provider customers, giving them the ability to use each others’ spare capacity – federated CDN launched in 2011; then came distributed storage; and federated compute capacity is next on the horizon.

However, until now OnApp’s game has been all about helping service providers make the most of their spare resources within the federation – one provider may lack a point of presence (PoP) in a certain location but be able to use that of a fellow federation member, for example. is OnApp’s first attempt at selling that federated capacity directly to end users, in this case companies that want to boost the performance of their websites in various locations around the globe. offers access to over 150 PoPs, which is not as extensive a network as those offered by Akamai(s akam) and Limelight(s llnw), but way bigger than those from smaller players such as Yottaa, MaxCDN and CacheFly — it’s even slightly more wide-ranging than CDNetworks’ network. However, according to marketing manager James Fletcher, the real selling point is’s flexibility and pay-by-usage pricing:

“It allows the end user to be in control of what they are purchasing … We saw in the marketplace that you can buy CDN and get a one-size-fits all solution, but that doesn’t work for everyone. The end result is you pay for resources and locations you don’t use. The vision allows you to spin up on the fly and provision and customize as you need to.”

At launch, will only include 30 PoPs with a focus on Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. However, OnApp is working to add locations in emerging markets and users will be able to add locations based on demand. “If the customer comes along and wants somewhere in South Africa, we can work with the service provider network to get one up and running,” Fletcher explained. Livestreaming capabilities will also go live soon.

Ultimately, OnApp is trying to “help line the pockets of the service providers”, as Fletcher put it, but it’s also quietly becoming one of Europe’s most significant cloud players, perhaps the most significant. Others have talked about or even attempted this kind of federated model, but no-one has achieved the sort of scale that OnApp can boast – scale that it achieved by stealth, but that it’s now starting to exploit in earnest.

7 Responses to “OnApp launches, tapping spare capacity of federated service providers”

  1. Just out of curiosity, what exactly do you mean by ‘more wide ranging?’ It looks like CDNetworks has over 140 PoPs and is in over 80 cities, but’s network is only in 25 different locations. Not to mention the extensive reach that CDNetworks has into China, where only has a presence in HK.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you mean by ‘range,’ can you please explain.


    • David Meyer has access to 150+ PoPs, by virtue of tapping OnApp’s CDN federation. Although it’s launched with 30 locations, from my understanding you can request others.

      • 150+ PoPs but in less locations. I still don’t understand how that is wider range from a global standpoint. I can place 200 PoPs in NY (not that it would make sense to do so), but the range (if you mean reach) is still not as wide as a network that has only 50 PoPs in 50 different cities around the world.

    • Ditlev Bredahl is based on OnApp’s federated marketplace of infrastructure. It’s actually fairly large, ranging across … more than 40 countries. is not currently using all the locations though in the standard offering, but clients can request locations and will find them in the OnApp federation.

      OnApp has more than 2000 installs world wide, and pop’s pretty much in any location you can imagine, so if there isn’t a pop currently it typically wouldn’t be too hard to get one lit up…

  2. This is a clever way to compete with the largest CDN providers like Akamai who have the largest number of PoPs without having to have massive upfront capital. It’s the story of how AWS spawned out of spare capacity for Amazon Retail websites. can act as broker for all their customers to maximise capacity utilisation and provide ad-hoc coverage of locations not already in the network.