Intel Looks to Speed Up XML-based B2B

FRAMINGHAM (05/05/2000) - Intel Corp. next week will debut two hardware devices designed to accelerate the way XML-based data is processed and handled over the Internet.

XML's main benefit is that it provides a universal format for structured documents and data, such as those used in customer service and purchasing applications, to be shared between businesses independent of the back-end applications that users may have running. That means companies can create and re-use vital business information over the Web to speed tasks such as purchasing and inventory. Intel's new devices let users process data based on XML attributes that act as name tags when the data comes over the net, speeding overall transaction processing.

John Miner, vice president and general manager of Intel's Communications Products Group, says Intel is targeting in-house corporate data centers and those at application service providers (ASP) for the products.

The Intel NetStructure 7280 XML Director has three main features - acceleration of security functions related to XML processing; control of XML transactions; and XML transaction roll-back, which resubmits failed XML transactions to another server for processing.

The 7280 has a policy-based engine that can identify and classify incoming XML requests based on specific elements within XML-based transactions. Once the data or document is classified, the 7280 validates, prioritizes and directs the most important XML requests based on elements such as trading partner, transaction value and other policies set by the network manager.

Warren Wilson, a senior analyst at Summit Strategies in Boston, says Intel's XML products can be used to speed business-to-business transactions in a corporate infrastructure, or by ASPs, which could offer premium services to customers who want to do these types of transactions and are willing to pay extra for better reliability and higher speed.

"There are a lot of efforts under way throughout the industry to accomplish this type of prioritizing, and Intel is the first to bring XML into play to add more sophistication to it," Wilson says.

Network managers can also use the 7280 to identify XML variants from different vendors - such as BizTalk from Microsoft Corp., cXML from Ariba Inc. or the emerging ebXML standard - and if needed, direct them to a specific server for processing.

Intel also plans to introduce the NetStructure 7210 Accelerator, which lets network managers read and classify XML information. The 7210 uses the same policy-based engine as the 7280 to manage data center workload based on XML requests. It works in conjunction with switches, load balancers or traffic managers to direct XML transactions to the server best able to process them.

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