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Concentric Offers Traffic Peak Insurance

Internet provider Concentric Network Corp. said Monday it will launch a new insurance service aimed at content providers concerned about Web site traffic spikes.

The Concentric Peak Protection service will give content, software distribution and media providers who need data center and network diversity the ability to add Web site bandwidth capacity on-demand. The service works by dividing traffic between Concentric hosting centers and other server locations.

The service is geared toward companies that don't want to depend on a single hosting provider, Internet service provider or to establish their own data centers. Concentric said customers want to be able to adjust network capacity and be protected from bottlenecks that can result from having only one network provider.

Peak Protection was developed by employing technology from Inktomi Corp. in conjunction with Concentric's Distributed Server Environment (DSE) platform. The Peak Protection servers use Inktomi's Traffic Server caching solution and is used throughout the Concentric network as a multiple-customer infrastructure.

DSE and Peak Protection is able to bring content closer to end users, which results in faster Web site downloads. DSE and Peak Protection distributes traffic between customer servers and Concentric's Peak Protection caching servers located in numerous Concentric data centers.

Customers who sign up for the service use a secure Web interface to request the amount of bandwidth they want during a projected peak. Peak Protection then automatically builds up a copy of the content on all of Concentric's Peak Protection servers based on where the Web viewership and content demand exists.

This is accomplished without customers moving servers from the primary data center or hosting provider. The Peak Protection service acts as a single server acting as multiple, geographically diverse and redundant servers.

Peak Protection will be available on Jan. 27, 1999, to Concentric-hosted customers and to companies whose primary Web servers are hosted elsewhere. Customers can reserve Peak Protection bandwidth from 500 Kbps to 10 Mbps, with the ability to burst up to 100 Mbps.

Introductory pricing for Peak Protection includes a $1,000 set-up fee, a monthly recurring charge of $700, excluding bandwidth charges which start at $550 a month.

"Concentric has developed a truly leading-edge service by listening to customer needs and by building on our robust network and hosting infrastructure," said Henry R. Nothhaft, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Concentric Network.

"Content, software distribution and media providers want -- and need -- protection from performance degradation due to unbalanced network traffic flows, from outages caused by their primary hosting or network provider, or simply from unexpected traffic surges, all of which significantly jeopardize a Web site's performance and success."