Napster, IBM Team for Cache Management

Online music service Napster has unwrapped its latest offering, an IBM-powered “Super Peer” cache-management system for ISPs, universities and businesses looking to cut costs while distributing digital music files.

The “Super Peer” application, announced Wednesday, uses Big Blue’s eServer BladeCenter systems running Linux and is used to cache Napster content in on-site servers to reduce bandwidth costs, a key element in the drive to mass-market digital music.

“Super Peer” promises a proactive approach to managing bandwidth usage while maintaining the quality and security of file distribution to customers and fits into Napster’s B2B approach to marketing its service.

Napster, relaunched by Roxio as a paid download service, said the application would be perfect for customers like the University of Rochester, which offers unlimited access for students. With cache-management technology, Napster chief technical officer Bill Pence said the University of Rochester could reduce system vulnerability and make full out of its computing infrastructure.

With cache-management, popular music files are stored locally for
streaming and downloading without requiring access to the Internet.

Napster, which competes with the likes of iTunes, BuyMusic, Rhapsody and MusicNet for a piece of the digital music pie, also uses technology from Microsoft for digital rights management (DRM). The service has also been embedded in the Windows XP Media Center Edition, Microsoft’s hybrid PC/TV platform.

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