CacheFlow Eases Web Servers' Burden

CacheFlow Inc. on Monday will take the wraps off its CacheFlow Server Accelerator, the first in a new product family aimed at improving site performance by handling content delivery instead of burdening Web servers with the delivery process.

The Server Accelerator sits in front of the Web servers and links into a load balancer, Layer-4 switch, or router, which will route traffic to the Server Accelerator and away from Web servers. The Server Accelerator can fulfill users' content requests directly from its memory, speeding up site performance and leaving the Web servers to handle the more involved processes, such as running applications, doing database lookups, or handling credit card and other transactions.

"Within that whole transaction, you'll notice that the Web servers aren't involved, which is good, because a Web site's main source of latency is not really the network itself, it's not even the Internet, it's actually the servers that are responsible for handling all the user requests," said Greg Govatos, director of product marketing for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based CacheFlow. "A server by nature is really designed to process data, where our product is designed to deliver data. We believe a Web site should really split responsibilities among those two devices, one processing and one [performing] delivery."

According to Govatos, the Server Accelerator can deliver around 95 percent of a site's content requests, delivering the same throughput as five to 10 Web servers. For companies this not only speeds up site performance but can lower their server costs and improve scalability, Govatos added.

Deeming the device part of a "new category of network infrastructure, a category called 'Web server acceleration,' CacheFlow officials expect to add more products and services to their Server Accelerator line over coming months. The line currently consists of three model ranges: the entry-level 710, 725, and 745 models; the mid-range 3725, and the high-end 5725.

The entry-level models will also support SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) traffic, Govatos said, noting that the other two product levels will be able to integrate SSL capability when it becomes available in October. CacheFlow announced its SSL support in late August.

"This is the first product that actually has that SSL optimization built into it," explained Govatos, adding that this allows the Server Accelerator to handle HTTPS traffic and secure page requests, removing even more traffic from Web servers.

The CacheFlow Server Accelerator models will be available Monday at prices of US$9,995 to $24,995 for the 710, 725, and 745 models; $39,995 for the mid-tier model, and $84,995 for the high-end version.

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