RealTime IT News

Good to the Last Mile

Campbell, Calif.'s FineGround Networks Inc., a firm devoted to content acceleration for the enterprise, Monday will unleash the latest version of its flagship Condenser software product.

With an emphasis on delivering dynamic, or "live" Internet content 10 times faster than normal deliveries and reducing bandwidth by 95 percent to help customers cut costs, Condenser 3.0 is praised by analysts for its Delta Optimization feature, which sends only the changes in a page that are sent from the enterprise to the end-user. That is how FineGround goes about addressing the "last-mile" issue that so many content delivery players are trying to solve; customers looking to offer consumers e-business transactions, stock quotes, personalized content, and news media content can benefit from this.

Evan Quinn, chief analyst of Hurwitz Group, said that while Web servers and simple server-side caches were never designed to handle the volume and complexity of content associated with modern Web-based applications, Condenser "redefines content delivery for the enterprise by intelligently speeding embedded objects as well a wide variety of content types in a non-invasive manner."

How is version 3.0 different from the previous two versions? It boasts a new capability called FlashForward Object Acceleration, which attempts to speed the delivery of embedded objects such as graphic images and style sheets. FlashForward reduces upstream and downstream network traffic to offer users a more immediate experience.

Nat Kausik, CEO of FineGround Networks, said fast response over the Internet is a key competitive advantage. The key attraction with Condenser, he said, is that customers can cut their network expenses, thus achieving a return on investment in a few months.

And what of the customers? FineGround, which sells Condenser at a base price of $50,000 that goes up depending how many central processing units (CPUs) need to be served, has sold career service giant Monster.com Inc. and appliance titan Whirlpool Corp. on its upgraded product for their Internet and intranet services, respectively.

FineGround may be a smaller company in the content delivery space when you put them next to Akamai, Digital Island, Inktomi and CacheFlow, but its product is more complementary than competitive with those firms, whose technologies are cache-based.

First, Akamai and Digital Island provide content delivery services. Inktomi and CacheFlow provide caching products, but none of the firms address the last mile (Akamai's EdgeSuite, as you can guess, sits at the edge). But the most important distinction is that those firms mostly address static content -- content that does not change, as opposed to dynamic, or live content that is altered on the fly.