RealTime IT News

Netli Cuts The Chatter

Web application delivery specialist Netli delivered a new service to speed along secure Web-based application transactions today.

The service, Accelerated SSL Delivery, is used to ensure that Web-enabled applications relying on SSL  and the X.509  standard respond as quickly as if the client and server were on the same local area network.

This is a particularly important feature for enterprises transacting online with businesses across the globe and is also applicable to vendors delivering software on demand.

Tim Knudsen, senior director of product management for Netli, said the Mountain View, Calif.-based company "does an intelligent pre-fetch so content is there before the end user even requests the page."

He said performance bottlenecks are also eliminated by reducing "chattiness," referring to the number of round trips required for a server to deliver a page.

For instance, a 70k page requested from a U.S.-based application server can take more than 30 chats to load if it's being requested by a user in Asia.

Even at a rapid 250 milliseconds per trip, that ends up being well above two seconds per page, which is the acceptable norm.

Netli resolves this issue with a global network of two types of specialized server clusters: Virtual Data Centers (VDCs), through which users access the network, and Application Access Points (AAPs), through which its customers' applications are made available to users.

The Netli global DNS redirection and IP address mapping system transparently directs users to the Netli service platform when accessing applications that are optimized by Netli.

Companies subscribe to a Netli service for one or more Web-enabled applications and delegate the DNS processing for those applications to Netli. When they access any of the optimized Web applications, Netli software transparently optimizes the application delivery between the VDCs and the AAPs.

For companies with two or more datacenters, Netli optimizes the use of each company's application infrastructure by directing each user to the optimal datacenter based on company-defined business policies.

John Bartlett, vice president of application performance measurement consultants NetForecast said his firm measured Netli's performance and "it really does what they say it does."

He said that while Netli has been reliably quick, it had not supported X.509 security certificates until now.

Now, he said, "they're addressing the issue in a way that is more compatible with how businesses need to run their programs across the Net."

Netli is also introducing a digital rights management application that allows companies to protect the intellectual property they deliver online.

Users sending a document can define the number of times a document can be downloaded or the length of time for which a recipient is entitled to access it.

The advantage of this approach, said Knudsen, is that companies do not have to predetermine policies, but can allow end users to determine those parameters for each transaction individually.

"They found a way to make it very flexible," noted Bartlett.

Netli charges set-up fees plus recurring monthly charges that depend on the regions served and the number of applications for which customers use its service.

The tools are modular, so a company could choose to pay for an acceleration application for only certain regions in the world but use the digital rights manager across the board.

Knudsen said a typical starting point would be $8,000 per month.

The challenge for Netli, of course, is that market leader Akamai  is well established, even if it lags behind in terms of innovation.

"It's like in the old days when the saying was you can't get fired for using IBM," said Bartlett. That said, he added that Netli does have one advantage over its larger rival.

"It's almost trivial to get those applications enabled with Netli, whereas it takes more work to get up and running with Akamai."