Akamai Technologies has branched out beyond its Web application acceleration services to boost the performance of all IP-based applications.
The Akamai IP Application Accelerator service targets such applications as Voice over IP, live chat, secure file transfers and other non-Web based applications, including those that run the user datagram protocol, IPsec (Internet Protocol security), Secure Sockets Layer as well as the Citrix Independent Computing Architecture, or ICA.
The service is based on technology Akamai acquired with Netli.
"We're repurposing the Netli technology and taking Akamai's global footprint and applying it to accelerate IP applications over the Internet," said Willie Tejada, vice president of application performance solutions at Akamai in San Mateo, Calif.
That combination could address a critical need to accelerate the growing base of mobile applications enterprises are deploying or looking to deploy, said Robert Whiteley, senior analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
"With all of the WAN optimization conversations I'm having now, how it applies to mobile users inevitably comes up. That is the prime opportunity—those remote users coming in off the [Virtual Private Network]. It would be possible to serve that with other forms of acceleration, but [those] may not be a more operatically efficient way to do it," he said.
The Akamai managed service relies on a pair of servers installed at the customer's data center that is configured, monitored and managed remotely by Akamai. It requires a domain name alias, block of IP addresses and port identification.
The service exploits Akamai's SureRoute technology, which monitors conditions on the Internet and selects the optimal path to transmit data. When the best path is determined, the Akamai technology then uses the company's proprietary high performance transport protocol to further reduce response times by reducing the number of round trips required for TCP handshakes. An optional packet loss reduction technique can also be applied where heavier packet loss is experienced on regional Internet links.
Akamai users at AppRiver, a Microsoft Exchange hosting provider, are anxious to start using the service to enable a high availability service for its clients, according to Scott Cutler, executive vice president at the Gulf Breeze, Fla., company.
"To build a high availability hosted Exchange solution, you have to find a way to provide end-to-end Quality of Service. Without Akamai's acceleration technology, there's no way to do that. You can have a reliable hosted Exchange platform inside the data center, but your client is somewhere out on the planet and generally a moving target, using wireless connectivity...," Cutler said. "With 27,000 servers around the Internet with a real-time view of the health of the Internet, they can map the fastest route back to us and use the Akamai communications protocol to speed up the flow of information from the origin to the client."
To allow customers to see and measure the benefits of the performance optimization, Akamai offers with the service a user management portal that gives customers detailed information, including peak usage levels, the performance of different geographies and views of performance before and after optimization.
The service is available now and is priced on a per user connection basis.