Company lets users set own content delivery specs

Digital Island Inc., a Cable & Wireless PLC company, says it has the answer for enterprises that want to improve the reliability of their Web sites, but don't want to invest in high-priced load balancing or content delivery network services.

The answer comes in the form of a new service called Intelligent Traffic Management (ITM). Officially launched at Fall Internet World in New York on Tuesday, ITM is designed to enable enterprises to distribute content among their data centers according to specifications they set themselves.

Enterprises using the service need only change their DNS setup to redirect traffic. Using a simple point-and-click interface, they then configure the service to distribute traffic to various data centers according to their own criteria. Criteria can include geographic location, load-share and server availability. The user also may send traffic to Digital Island's global CDN, as well as out to third-party networks, says Paul Stolorz, product development manager for ITM.

"You as a company retain control of your data centers; you don't put your content on machines that DI controls and owns," he says.

In addition, the ITM service automatically recognizes server failures and redirects traffic to the most appropriate server until the malfunction is corrected, Stolorz says.

The ITM service, based on patent pending technology called adapted traffic control (ATC), is a new addition to Digital Island's 2Way Web Services, modular service components that can be stitched together on the fly. The 2Way Web Services, which include transaction (2Transact), delivery (2Deliver) and management (2Manage) capabilities, leverage managed hosting, content delivery and network technologies to support two-way application processing and content delivery.

"This gives us the ability to manage somebody's traffic at their behest, rather than us providing a single multi-secret-sauce algorithm type of thing that figures out where the best place to go is all the time," says Stolorz.

Analysts say the ITM service is a good entry point for enterprises seeking the benefits of a CDN but looking to maintain content in their own hosting centers and distribute it as they choose.

Counse Broders, principal analyst for Internet services at Current Analysis Inc., says he was impressed by the simplicity of ITM's Web-based point-and-click user interface, which allows enterprises to make changes in how traffic is distributed. In addition, Broders says, the service can be implemented in minutes, since there is no need to install software or hardware, as is the case with competitors such as CacheFlow Inc. or Akamai Technologies Inc.

Robert Poon, senior VP of engineering and systems operations at Trapezo, says he has been able to guarantee 99.99 percent uptime since he began using the service about a month ago. Trapezo provides a Web-based platform to businesses such as Dell Computer Corp., CNET Networks Inc. and Ingram Micro Inc. to manage their online partner and channel relationships.

The ITM service is available now at a flat fee of US$5,000 per month, which includes 24-7 support services.

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