Akamai Technologies Inc. has unveiled FirstPoint, a global traffic management service aimed at content providers with distributed Web servers that will monitor traffic flow and route users to the most relevant Web server based on their requests and locations. FirstPoint works by deploying agents throughout the Akamai network and at a content provider’s Web site to monitor the site’s performance as well as Internet performance, checking for red flags such as packet loss or latency. The performance data is analyzed to make sure users are directed around outages or congestion and a trend analysis determines if conditions are getting worse, indicating a potential problem. From the monitoring data, FirstPoint then creates a “map” that shows which sites would be optimal for each user request; the map is continuously updated to ensure traffic is routed around any congestion. According to Akami FirstPoint sits in the middle of the site-request process. A user’s browser makes request to the local name server, looking for the IP address of the site; if local name server doesn’t know that IP address, it makes a request to FirstPoint; FirstPoint looks at the request and where it’s coming from, then checks its map for the optimal site and hands back the IP address of that optimal site to the user. The FirstPoint service is currently available at a price of US$5,500 per month per data center. Akamai Technologies Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., is at http://www.akamai.com.

Prices listed are in US currency.

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