CacheFlow drives intelligence to the edge with content delivery offering

Sunnyvale, Calif.’s CacheFlow Inc. last month announced a series of products and a new content delivery architecture aimed at giving service providers and their enterprise customers more value-added services from their network.

Primary among the new products is the cIQ Director, which offers distribution and control of user and content policies from the data centre to the network edge.

“This is significant because it gives (CIOs) the ability to work from home,” said William Hurley, a program manager for the Yankee Group in Boston, Mass.

Also included in CacheFlow’s cIQ product family is a storage synchronization module that integrates cIQ-powered networks with EMC’s Clariion brand of networked storage devices. EMC and CacheFlow formed a partnership in mid-February.

Hurley said storage at the edge is needed for enterprises moving sizeable streaming files from the origination source to the edge. CacheFlow also announced cIQ would offer customers the ability to deliver streaming media, including support for Microsoft’s Windows Media, Apple’s QuickTime and MPEG 4. The company already supports RealNetworks content.

A spokesperson for CacheFlow compared the company’s new content delivery architecture to how the telephone network was built out over the course of the past century.

“First (the telcos) had a proprietary switch plane,” explained Patrick Harr, the vice-president of marketing at CacheFlow. “Then they had to create a software plane for value-add services.”

Harr said the new cIQ products are designed to provide a quick upgrade path for CacheFlow’s managed service provider and large enterprise customers. Companies such as Exodus Communications and UUNET have already used CacheFlow’s edge and server accelerators to improve the efficiency of enterprise networks, Harr said. Now those co-location companies will be able to offer customers greater control of those networks.

Hurley said CacheFlow’s ability to deliver dynamic content to the edge will come in handy for enterprises wishing to do things like computer-based training, interval training, sales information and training, and executive internal messaging in a media format.

“These kinds of technologies are becoming important in the enterprise,” he said.

Hurley said CacheFlow’s base of service provider customers would need to market the potential of the cIQ architecture to the enterprise.

“There’s both a push and pull aspect to this,” he said. “CacheFlow knows customers need value-add (services) and people are demanding these services from service providers.”

Hurley did express one reservation over the new cIQ Director, specifically the security of allowing officials to adjust policies from various locations.

“Just until a couple of years ago, you would have had a couple of dedicated (Windows) NT workstations that would take care of network management,” he said. “Now it’s much more fluid, so a CIO can work from home, or while travelling as long as he has the proper permissions. (But) you need to maintain a high level of security around those accounts, so that people with less than honourable intentions don’t have access (to customer networks).”

The cIQ Director is able to manage all HTTP, HTTPS, FTP and streaming content being handled by up to 100 Edge and Server Accelerators. In the past, employees had to set configurations for all appliances at their specific location.

The cIQ Director is available now and starts at US$14,995. Streaming services begin at US$7,500, while the Edge Accelerators sell for US$4,995 and the Server Accelerators are listed at US$9,995. Pricing is dependent on size and throughput agreements. CacheFlow can be found on the Web at