Volera uncorks Web services networking

Content delivery vendor Volera Inc. later this year plans to harness its enterprise CDN (content delivery network) technology to speed and secure the delivery of Web services.

Building on top of its Velocity CDN platform, the forthcoming Web services networking software will overlay existing corporate networks to create a Web services delivery platform, company officials said. The software will target scalability, reliability, and security -- three gaps that are emerging in Web service delivery, said Simon Khalaf, president of Volera, in San Jose, Calif.

Specifically, Volera said it will tap its CDN platform to move Web services closer to end-users, caching commonly shared Web services components at the edge to alleviate the central processing bottleneck and accelerate service transport.

Moving some of the execution of logic to the network's edge or to a remote office where more computing power is available can reduce bandwidth costs and provide scalability for Web services, company officials said.

"We are improving the scalability of Web services by allowing components to run at the branch office on a [Volera] Excelerator box. In an architecture with centralized servers, taking components from the datacenter and hosting them on our datacenter boxes so they are running on an Excelerator computer can scale Web services deployments," Khalaf said.

In addition, the company said its offering will prioritize the exchange of SOAP (simple object access protocol) messages over other types of network traffic, officials said. Because it is encoded in HTTP, green lighting SOAP messages is an extension of Volera's current generation of content filtering capabilities, according to Khalaf.

"SOAP comes over HTTP, so the same thing we do for content filtering. We determine it is a SOAP message encoded in HTTP, and give that a priority," he said.

Addressing security needs in Web services transport, Volera's Web services offering will also provide authentication between Web services applications, according to Volera officials. Leveraging Volera's Secure Excelerator caching software, the security feature will transparently encrypt and decrypt SOAP messages to create a secure tunnel to an enterprise branch office.

"We can sign and encrypt SOAP whenever it is being exchanged between two applications," Khalaf said. "There is not a lot of authentication built into each [Web service] component. We apply access control, then encrypt the SOAP message and sign it, so a receiving Volera box can recognize the request came form an authorized source."

Furthermore, Volera is incorporating the recently introduced WS-Security specification in its technology development, according to Khalaf. WS-Security, jointly developed by Microsoft, IBM, and VeriSign, defines a set of SOAP extensions and describes how to exchange secure messages in a Web services environment.

Volera's Web services networking software will be rolled out in phases beginning in the fall.

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