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Akamai Jumps Into App Acceleration

Akamai is branching out from its Web-acceleration roots to accelerate any enterprise IP-based application delivered over the Internet, with its new IP Application Accelerator service.

Willie Tejada, vice president of application performance solutions at Akamai, said content on the Internet has transcended from raw content, or brochure-ware, to application data. "Enterprises are under pressure to deliver applications globally, while still having centralized control, and all of it needs to be fast and cost-effective," he told InternetNews.com.

The IP Application Accelerator will work with all IP-based enterprise applications, though Tejada noted that those with a real-time element, such as VoIP or conferencing, will benefit the most.

Real-time IP applications are the most beneficial because they have the most to gain from Akamai's network. Akamai has its own Edge network of over 27,000 servers that deliver accelerated traffic with less latency than the public Internet.

"Real-time applications suffer from latency on the Internet," Tejada noted. "Much of unique features of IP accelerator are about delivering private network quality over the Internet."

The way the IP Accelerator works is Akamai places a device in an enterprise datacenter, which provides what Tejada described as an onramp to Akamai's Edge network. In so doing Akamai acceleration gets closer to the datacenter and all those who connect through it. However, the real magic sauce, according to Tejada, is the Akamai software, running on the hardware device itself, that provides the IP application acceleration.

The enterprise application acceleration space is hotly contested, with myriad vendors including Citrix, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Cisco, Juniper, Packateer and many others claiming their respective solutions accelerate traffic best.

For Akamai, it's the Edge network that provides the competitive differentiation.

"If you take a look at the Akamai footprint, the ability to have an edge region close to a customers' datacenter infrastructure and end users gives us the ability to isolate the middle mile and do it for the arbitrary user," Tejada explained.

The middle mile, said Tejada, is the segment between Akamai servers where users that don't have access to the accelerated Akamai network are at the mercy of the public Internet and the latency that it may bring with it.

The goal with Akamai's IP Application Accelerator from a release standpoint will be to have multiple software releases per year, each with the aim of expanding acceleration.

"More acceleration is better in our space," Tejada said. "When I say more acceleration I'm talking about more acceleration for the existing type of applications that we support, as well as more acceleration for the apps we don't support. We see people deploying private networks, such as MPLS , but they still have the Internet playing an important role.

"So providing application acceleration that spans the public Internet and can also be access via a carrier partner are other areas we're focused on."