IBM, Akamai Delve Deeper Into On-Demand

By Sean Michael Kerner

Looking to advance their on demand computing strategies, IBM and Akamai Technologies on Thursday released the EdgeComputing Toolkit for Websphere Studio.

The offering streamlines deployment of Java 2 Enterprise Edition Web applications built on IBM’s WebSphere software across Akamai’s global computing platform. Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM is offering up a beta trial of the tool at its alphaWorks Web site.

The full toolkit will be available in the first quarter of 2004 and will be free for WebSphere developers. Earlier this year, the companies signed a joint infrastructure deal that lets WebSphere developers put their applications on Akamai’s more than 14,000 servers worldwide.

The deal is a boon for companies that run online promotions and surveys that result short bursts of Internet activity followed by long periods of inactivity.

Rather than pay a yearly fee for bandwidth needed only once or twice a year on their own servers, companies can have the applications farmed throughout Akamai’s server network and billed through IBM’s On Demand service.

The partnership should also benefit end-users. Rather than hit a bandwidth bottleneck trying to reach one server at the same time as thousands of other users around the world, the application sits on an Akamai server that’s likely close to the user’s physical address.

Kieran Taylor, Akamai’s director of product management for EdgeComputing, told the toolkit doesn’t require learning new syntax or adding a layer of complexity to a project, it’s a single-click operation.

“From the developers standpoint they don’t need to learn anything new . . . it’s just a new way for them to deploy applications,” he said. “The developer codes an application, simply clicks on ‘deploy,’ and the infrastructure and capacity of Akamai’s global network are instantly available at the developer’s fingertips.”

Taylor said the collaborative offering from IBM and Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai is a perfect example of on-demand — or pay-as-you-go — computing.

“You hear so much about utility and on-demand computing, here it is as a commercially available service today, globally distributed, enabling our customers to transform IP economics and move to a pay-per-use model rather than having to over provision hardware and software,” he said.

Taylor added, “To our knowledge this is the only globally distributed platform for application processing. We’ve not seen anything comparable in the .Net arena.”

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