Akamai vs Incapsula – Comparison Review

Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) are the current evolution of old school CDNs platforms tasked with responsibility not only for website’s performance, but also for its security and availability. By singlehandedly covering these mission crucial aspects of content and application delivery these technologies allow you to replace multiple appliances with one full service solution. With that, ADCs help eliminate many integration related issues, while also dramatically cutting down all setup, acquisition and maintenance costs.

In the world of ADCs, Incapsula is perhaps the most promising up-and-comer, a cloud-based service that seems to have the technology and the business sense needed to position itself at the same level as its legacy competitors.

It’s been almost two years since I last blogged about Incapsula. Now with recent announcement of its load balancing and failover features, I decided to update my review by pitching Incapsula against Akamai – a globally recognized CDN industry leader, who is also making a leap into the world of full service application delivery.

For this “head to head” comparison of Akamai vs Incapsula, I’ll be focusing on security, performance, availability and – of course – price of service.

You can find the full comparison here but for those of you who want to skip to the chase, here’s what I think about in a nutshell:

Akamai vs Incapsula: In a Nutshell

Incapsula simply offers more for less. You get all of the essentials you would expect, including a robust CDN, PCI compliant Web Application Firewall, DDoS protection and integrated high availability features (both load balancing and failover), all at very reasonable price point.

Not only that, but when compared with Akamai it looks like most of Incapsula features actually offer more, both in terms of their functionality and in term of their overall synergy. One great example is Incapsula’s Real Time view which complements its custom security rules engine and load balancing features by providing instant feedback on every action taken.

In fact, when looking at value for money, Akamai does not offer any tangible benefits – at least not for those who are looking beyond a CDN-only option.

Incapsula – fast, secure and reasonably priced CDN

A month and a half ago I blogged about CloudFlare – a Content Delivery Network with security concerns and simple users in mind.   CloudFlare is flexible for webmasters and they make it easy for us to take advantage of all the benefits they offer. I have moved several of my sites to CloudFlare and I am pretty happy with the service they provide.  One of the things that I didn’t do at the time (or every since) though is a review or research for some alternatives.  I mean, of course, we all know about Akamai and that big guns use it.  We also know that Akamai is one of the most expensive services on the Web.  But who else is out there?

Today I received an email from Incapsula. In essence, they offer a service which is similar to CloudFlare.  They do caching, global delivery, and security.  They do also offer a free plan for small, personal websites.  They also have a few packages of varying prices and features.

As I mentioned earlier, I do run all of my important sites now through CloudFlare.  And I don’t feel like moving to Incapsula just yet.  However, I do want to try them out.  I have a couple of new projects coming up, and I think I will use Incapsula for them just to see all the features they are offering and to compare with other alternatives out there.  I’d be interested to hear the reviews, if you’ve tried the service.  Especially, how they compare to the others and if they offer anything cool that nobody else does.

As a side note, website performance is becoming more and more important – with increased competition, impatient users and more weight to search results metrics in Google.  Also, web application security is becoming increasing complex – it takes so much time and effort even for trained technical people such as myself, that I can’t imagine how huge of a task it is for “normal” people to maintain common sense security levels for their websites.  It’s nice to see that there are more and more services and applications that take care of all the infrastructure problems, leaving more time to do the cool stuff – blogging, sharing, communicating, etc.

P.S.: Reading about Six Great Human and Computer Collaborations will expose you to new technology developments.