Novell accelerates content for ISPs

Novell has announced a software and hardware product for Internet service providers (ISPs) and Web hosting companies that could enable them to deliver their customers' Web content cheaper and much faster.

Dubbed the Novell Content Exchange, the subscription-based service aims to knock out the bottlenecks between the origin Web server and the Internet backbone and improve end users' response time.

Novell Content Exchange consists of the company's Internet Caching System (ICS) installed on a Dell or Compaq server, Foundry Networks Layer 4 switches and a policy engine that routes traffic based on the character or quantity of data. It also includes billing and management software integrated with the ISP's accounting and network management systems.

Novell will install Content Exchange, configure it and let the provider use it on a megabit/sec per-month consumption billing model, a portion of which is returned to Novell.

Content is accelerated and prepared by the Novell hardware and software located at the ISP or hosting facility and sent to a content delivery provider for distribution to customers. According to Novell, Web pages are delivered 10 times faster through Content Exchange than directly through an ISP.

Data preparation consists of looking at the format of the data - whether images, dynamic content such as CGI or Active Server Pages, or streaming content - and determining how it is best distributed and the most economic way.

"This is cool stuff," said Martin Marshall, an analyst with Zona Research. "It is addressing a difference between content delivery providers' service capabilities. These services can vary as much as 35 per cent between backbones. Content Exchange allows the Web server to switch between Akamai, Digital Image and Mirror Image depending on the content, and get an optimised path. It also makes it a lot easier in that you don't need to Akamise your data."

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