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Inktomi Makes The Edge 'Personal'

Internet search and content delivery developer Inktomi says it has come up with a way to reduce Internet traffic jams and they've got a heavy hitter in their pocket to promote its success.

The Foster City, Calif.-based company Wednesday unveiled its new Personal Edge software suite. The infrastructure technology for Internet service providers (ISP) is designed to overcome the last-mile bottleneck for their dial-up, broadband, satellite and business users.

The software works both ends of the delivery pipe through a combination of compression technology and desktop caching coordinated with an Inktomi Traffic Server parent cache.

Edge servers, like Inktomi's Traffic Server, cache popular Web pages or files at the provider's data center instead of requiring users to visit the actual Web site. This dramatically cuts down on the bandwidth passing through the network the customer is using.

The new platform is separated into three parts: Personal Edge Agent, Personal Edge Page Server, and Personal Edge Extension.

The Agent works with the Web browser to speed up static and dynamic Web page delivery. The Page Server limits the amount of data transmitted to a user by sending only updated information in response to subsequent requests for a Web page. And the Extension lets the Traffic Server parent cache and the other Personal Edge components talk with each other.

The three Personal Edge components are each sold separately. The Personal Edge Page Server and the Personal Edge Extension to Traffic Server are priced by CPU. The Personal Edge Agent has a tiered pricing schedule based on the number of clients.

The surprise is that an independent test found Personal Edge software speeded Web page delivery by more than 30 percent. The benchmark was based on a report by eTesting Labs (formerly ZD Labs).

But not too surprising is that AOL was the first onboard to help with an internal field test of the software.

Inktomi has a long standing relationship with AOL as well as companies like Yahoo! and Microsoft .

"AOL has already been independently measured as having the fastest Web performance in the online industry, and Inktomi's innovative Personal Edge technology will even further enhance our members' online experience in this key area," says AOL Internet Operations vice president Mark Muehl. "We look forward to offering this optimized performance to our worldwide community of members."

But the majority of AOL's 33 million users are dial-up customers and that is not going to change anytime soon. Analysts are already predicting that more than 50 percent of all Internet users will still be accessing the Internet via a dial-up connection in 2005.

Keynote Systems recently reported that the average time for dial-up users to access the 40 top consumer sites has increased by almost seven seconds since 1999, to an average of more than 21 seconds today. Not good considering that most people are expecting Internet pages to load in at an average of eight seconds.

And Web performance problems are not unique to dial-up users as broadband users can experience slowdowns resulting from network over-subscriptions and satellite users must contend with the inherent latency of satellite distribution.

Still, Inktomi president and CEO David Peterschmidt seems unfazed.

"Inktomi has long addressed the most difficult networking challenges on the public Internet and on private global networks with intelligent software solutions that deliver network scalability, reliability and performance," says Peterschmidt. "Inktomi Personal Edge software moves the network edge to the end-user desktop and will enable AOL and other service providers to deliver a significantly enhanced Web experience for their customers."