IBM, Akamai Expand Relationship

SAN MATEO (08/01/2000) - IBM Corp. and Akamai Technologies Inc. on Tuesday unveiled plans to incorporate Akamai's Akamaizer technology into IBM's WebSphere e-business platform in an effort to improve performance and speed of content distribution through WebSphere.

The agreement is most recent in a series of similar relationships Akamai has formed with companies such as F5 Networks Inc., Alteon WebSystems Inc., and CacheFlow Inc. to integrate Akamaizer technology into various pieces of e-business networks and infrastructure.

Akamaizer technology automatically converts URLs into Akamai Resource Locators (ARLs) so that content can be delivered via the Akamai network, a process the company has dubbed Akamaization.

"For IBM, what it does is give [users] a better way of accelerating better delivery of the content," said Ravi Sundarajan, director of business development at Akamai, in Cambridge, Mass. "End-users for Web sites will say, 'Oh, I want to use WebSphere; now if I use Akamai's technology with WebSphere, it makes it a more powerful e-business platform,' because the content is delivered much faster and with easier access for the end-user."

IBM WebSphere users will be able to automate the content distribution process through the WebSphere platform and launch it directly onto Akamai's content delivery network. Akamai and IBM also are working to add some of IBM's commerce application technologies to Akamai's EdgeAdvantage platform, Sundarajan said.

Akamai will be integrating some of IBM's e-commerce enabling tools, such as Enterprise Java Beans and XSLT technology, into its EdgeAdvantage platform to make better use of WebSphere's capabilities throughout Akamai's network"One of the things we're doing with IBM is to take a lot of the tools IBM has, tools like XSLT, Enterprise Java Beans, and a whole bunch of tools that enable e-commerce platforms to function better, [and we'll] integrate a lot of those tools and technologies into our EdgeAdvantage platform," Sundarajan said.

Sundarajan added that one of the largest benefits for Akamai will be the chance to reach a different segment of the market, expanding into the e-business world from their current perch in the portal and media Web site markets.

"IBM has a more e-commerce, b-to-b [business-to-business], and enterprise focus," Sundarajan explained. "WebSphere is pretty popular in that space, so it gives us access to a different customer base, and the overlap is not much."

The push into the e-business space will continue to be a focus for Akamai, and Sundarajan said more Akamaizer-integration announcements are likely to pop up during the rest of the year.

"Since we have established a very dominant position in Internet portals and media sites, we are doing a lot of things in the enterprise, b-to-b, and e-commerce space," Sundarajan said. "We are going to make our platform more e-commerce aware and move in that area; that's big thrust for our company."

The IBM-Akamai development agreement builds on a relationship begun in January, when Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM became a reseller of Akamai's FreeFlow content delivery service and FirstPoint traffic management service and Akamai deployed IBM Netfinity servers within their network.

The first bundling of WebSphere and the Akamaizer technology is slated for Sept. 15.

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