Vendors to speed Web content delivery

Alteon WebSystems Inc. and InfoLibria Inc. separately rolled out hardware and software aimed at speeding users’ e-commerce Web sites last month.

Alteon announced the first two products in its new iSD family, which feature encryption processing and automated content delivery to speed Web site response. For its part, InfoLibria rolled out the DynaCache 40 cache device, a high-end hardware and software product that provides about twice the processing power and memory of its current products, with dual 700MHz chips and 2GB of memory. The cache has redundant power supplies and mirrored disks for higher availability.

While InfoLibria’s and Alteon’s announcements address different needs for e-commerce and business-to-business Web sites, they are related in that they both aim to speed the process of serving up content.

The first two Alteon iSD products are the iSD Accelerator, aimed at offloading Secure Sockets Layer security processing functions from a Web server, and the iSD Akamaizer. By offloading the security processing, a Web server could be freed up to handle other content requests more quickly. The Akamaizer is designed for Akamai Technologies Inc. network users who want to automate the process of putting Web content on Akamai’s delivery network. Both products connect to an Alteon Web switch.

The Akamaizer also lets network professionals set policies on content to be placed on the Akamai network. That process normally would require manual coding, but the Akamaizer automates the procedure.

Alteon will announce other iSD products aimed at speeding and simplifying management of e-commerce and Web sites but would not disclose when those will be introduced.

Unlike stand-alone devices that allow for encryption-related processing, the iSD products can be managed through the same tools used by an Alteon Web switch, said sources briefed by Alteon. They said iSD products should let users deploy new services more easily than if they deployed stand-alone devices that need to be maintained and configured individually.

The products differ from Alteon’s Web switches, which provide Layer 4 through Layer 7 network functions such as URL-based switching. Sources said the new products mark Alteon’s entry into the e-commerce services market, with offerings that let network managers provide features such as automated content delivery and higher-speed secure transaction processing.

InfoLibria said DynaCache’s improved file system on its operating system software can handle Web server caches more intelligently than previous InfoLibria products do.

For network managers who are putting caches in front of their Web servers, the improved file system means faster response times for customers, said Kevin Lewis, marketing director at InfoLibria. That’s because the cache now knows how to store related objects close to one another — reducing the amount of time it takes to put the objects together that make up a page.

InfoLibria’s DynaCache 40 is designed to sit in front of a Web server to provide content that is frequently requested or is static. Cache devices speed response time for requests by storing that static or popular content. They offload the task of putting the objects together and serving them up as Web pages, which frees the Web server to complete more compute-intensive tasks, such as putting together dynamic content requests like shopping carts and security-related functions.

Alteon’s iSD Accelerator and iSD Akamaizer, which will be priced between US$15,000 and US$25,000 when they ship in the fall, can be connected to an Alteon Web switch. InfoLibria’s DynaCache 40 is available now and costs US$44,995.