Netli Cuts The Chatter

Web application delivery specialist Netli delivered a new service to speed
along secure Web-based application transactions today.

The service, Accelerated SSL Delivery, is used to ensure that Web-enabled
applications relying on SSL  and the X.509
 standard respond as quickly as if the client and server
were on the same local area network.

This is a particularly important feature for enterprises transacting online
with businesses across the globe and is also applicable to vendors
delivering software on demand.

Tim Knudsen, senior director of product management for Netli, said the
Mountain View, Calif.-based company “does an intelligent pre-fetch so
content is there before the end user even requests the page.”

He said performance bottlenecks are also eliminated by reducing
“chattiness,” referring to the number of round trips required for a server to deliver a page.

For instance, a 70k page requested from a U.S.-based application server can
take more than 30 chats to load if it’s being requested by a user in Asia.

Even at a rapid 250 milliseconds per trip, that ends up being well above two seconds per page, which is the acceptable norm.

Netli resolves this issue with a global network of two types of specialized
server clusters: Virtual Data Centers (VDCs), through which users access the
network, and Application Access Points (AAPs), through which its customers’
applications are made available to users.

The Netli global DNS redirection and IP address mapping system transparently
directs users to the Netli service platform when accessing applications that
are optimized by Netli.

Companies subscribe to a Netli service for one or more Web-enabled
applications and delegate the DNS processing for those applications to
Netli. When they access any of the optimized Web applications, Netli
software transparently optimizes the application delivery between the VDCs
and the AAPs.

For companies with two or more datacenters, Netli optimizes the use of
each company’s application infrastructure by directing each user to the
optimal datacenter based on company-defined business policies.

John Bartlett, vice president of application performance measurement
consultants NetForecast said his firm measured Netli’s performance and “it
really does what they say it does.”

He said that while Netli has been reliably quick, it had not supported X.509
security certificates until now.

Now, he said, “they’re addressing the issue in a way that is more compatible
with how businesses need to run their programs across the Net.”

Netli is also introducing a digital rights management application that
allows companies to protect the intellectual property they deliver online.

Users sending a document can define the number of times a document can be
downloaded or the length of time for which a recipient is entitled to access
it.

The advantage of this approach, said Knudsen, is that companies do not have
to predetermine policies, but can allow end users to determine those
parameters for each transaction individually.

“They found a way to make it very flexible,” noted Bartlett.

Netli charges set-up fees plus recurring monthly charges that depend on the
regions served and the number of applications for which customers use its
service.

The tools are modular, so a company could choose to pay for an acceleration
application for only certain regions in the world but use the digital rights
manager across the board.

Knudsen said a typical starting point would be $8,000 per month.

The challenge for Netli, of course, is that market leader Akamai  is well established, even if it lags behind in terms of
innovation.

“It’s like in the old days when the saying was you can’t get fired for using
IBM,” said Bartlett. That said, he added that Netli does have one advantage over its larger
rival.

“It’s almost trivial to get those applications enabled with Netli, whereas
it takes more work to get up and running with Akamai.”

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