Akamai looks to boost intranet delivery speed

Content delivery specialist Akamai Technologies Inc. has quietly been readying a version of its patented technology that companies can use internally to speed distribution of content, data and applications among employees.

Akamai, which runs more than 13,000 caching servers that sit at the edge of over 1,000 public networks in more than five dozen countries, says the package will initially be offered as a managed service, in which Akamai engineers will deploy switches and appliances and help manage internal content-delivery networks (CDN). But ultimately the company wants to license the technology so companies can run it on their own. The behind-the-firewall package will include a monitoring and managing tool that will let customers control an internal CDN just as Akamai manages its public network. The Akamai technology will also hook into customers’ existing management systems.

“We have a very large engineering group that’s focused on taking our technology and putting it into an environment where we don’t have to manage it from our network operations centre [NOC],” says Mike Quinn, an Akamai general manager. “Technically what’s being developed is something that stands alone behind the firewall. Nothing goes between the firewall and the Internet, and nothing goes between the firewall and our [NOC].”

Akamai wouldn’t say when the technology would be available, only that more details would be released in the coming months.

The move is a major shift for Akamai, which has been providing content acceleration services on the Internet since launching in 1999. Akamai accelerates Web sites by pushing static and dynamic content to its network of caching servers. With its technology, companies can reduce hardware and bandwidth demands, as well as improve performance by pushing content out to servers geographically closest to their Web site visitors.

In a corporate scenario, the Akamai technology could push static content, large files and streaming video to caches a company would deploy at remote offices, thus reducing the traffic to origin servers.

By “productizing” its technology, Akamai will face competition from vendors such as Cisco, Inktomi, Network Appliance, CacheFlow and Volera, which offer products and services for building private CDNs.

Akamai is at http://www.akamai.com.