Startup to launch micro server for Web clients

A California-based startup called Commendo on Monday will announce client software designed to speed up enterprise applications on the Web.

A Californian startup called Commendo Software on Monday unveiedl new software created to speed up the performance of Web-based enterprise applications.

Called the Commendo Virtual Foundation, the software is designed to eliminate a number of the connection problems that slow down Web-based applications. Using design techniques borrowed from the microprocessor world, Commendo has developed a way to move some of the processing typically done by servers over to the desktop, using a small piece of client software called a micro server.

The micro server improves connectivity between the browser and Web applications and can reduce common annoyances such as "page not found" errors and DNS (Domain Name System) lookup problems. "If you're dealing with data, you cannot handle all of these unpredictable results," said Reynaldo Gil, chairman and chief executive officer of the six-person startup.

"We've had to write code using some very intelligent techniques, and we've had to create algorithms," Gil said. "We've been able to systematically close the holes in a lot of these behaviors that cause these problems."

Micro server clients are configured using Microsoft's Active Directory and managed with products such as Microsoft System Management Server (SMS), he said.

The company is secretive about how exactly its micro server works, in part because it is in the process of filing patent applications for its technology, Gil said. Ultimately, the 150K byte micro server could be run on a specialized microprocessor, he said.

"Commendo has worked out a way of shrinking down the Web stack in order to run the Web layer of an application, complete with read-only information, on a PC, behind the firewall," said John Abbott, chief analyst with The 451 Group, in an e-mail interview.

One version of the Virtual Foundation software lets database-oriented applications work with clients even without a network connection. Using Commendo's software, a user could, for example, begin filling out a form on an ERP (enterprise resource planning) application, disconnect from the network, and then reconnect to submit the form.

"It's very early days, but the approach offers some interesting possibilities for running rich clients on the desktop," Abbott said.

Commando's Virtual Foundation costs US$200 per client. The version that allows disconnected use sells for US$500 per client. The software is available immediately.

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