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5/5/2010
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Akamai, IBM Speed Web App Delivery

Pre-configured IBM WebSphere servers share information with the Akamai EdgePlatform to accelerate delivery of dynamic online content.

The "Akamai Ready" initiative, a multi-phase collaboration between Akamai and IBM announced Tuesday at the IBM IMPACT 2010 conference in Las Vegas, aims to provide IBM WebSphere customers with an easier path to deployment and higher levels of functionality on the Akamai network.

High-traffic, high-bandwidth requests for content by geographically distributed users can overwhelm even the most robust Web servers. Akamai EdgePlatform, a fault-tolerant network comprising 61,000 servers in 70 countries, mitigates congestion and other vulnerabilities by intermediating between requests from users and responses from application servers.

With Tuesday's announcement, e-commerce sites and other firms with dynamic online content can have IBM WebSphere DataPower Appliances delivered "Akamai Ready," including out-of-the-box integration with Akamai's Web Application Accelerator service. Akamai's Application Optimizer module for WebSphere extends the types of information shared between WebSphere DataPower and the Akamai network, and additionally provides intelligent load balancing and increased security.

Akamai chief scientist and co-founder Tom Leighton described, in an interview, how enterprises stand to benefit from the "Akamai Ready" initiative:

  • Dynamic rules: Based on changing web traffic conditions and content requirements, WebSphere dynamically shares information with Akamai EdgePlatform about content rules, such as what to cache, when to cache, and how quickly to deliver content. "For highly dynamic content, we now have the ability to set cache rules dynamically," said Leighton. "Previously un-cacheable content can be dynamically cached."
  • Sharing processor load data: WebSphere provides Akamai EdgePlatform with information about the CPU load on back-end application servers. "We can cache content longer at the Akamai EdgePlatform to free up CPU cycles at the application server, based on what the [WebSphere] DataPower application is sending to us," said Leighton.
  • Stronger security: A "security handshake" can prevent WebSphere DataPower Appliances from accepting requests other than those coming from the Akamai EdgePlatform.

    Out-of-box integration The WebSphere DataPower Appliance can be provided with pre-set configuration metadata, TCP settings, and traceroute settings, which enables rapid deployment.

Future phases of the collaboration between Akamai and IBM will enable additional configuration, integration, performance tuning, and security tuning across the WebSphere portfolio of products, Leighton said.

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