CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (06/02/2000) - Akamai Technologies Inc. is launching a service this week that will let business users better manage their global Web site content.
FirstPoint, Akamai's global traffic management service, is designed for businesses that have multiple Web servers on the Internet. The service is designed to route end-user requests over the Net to the least busy server hosting the desired content.
The service differs from content distribution packages such as Akamai's flagship FreeFlow offering. FreeFlow caches Web site content on servers at the edge of the Internet and directs users to the geographically closest cache servers. FirstPoint uses proprietary software algorithms to determine which server will offer end users the fastest access to cached material.
Akamai has deployed "agents" throughout its network that look for outages, congestion and latency, says Amy Swotinsky, product manager at Akamai. After Akamai's FirstPoint system analyzes the data the agents have collected, the system creates network maps that are used to direct each request for content to the most optimal server, Swotinsky says. These network maps can be updated every 10 seconds.
Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch has been testing Akamai's FirstPoint service for about two months and has noted performance improvements and faster download times, says Sean Moriarty, vice president of Internet systems at the company.
"We plan to integrate the service across all of the Web sites, but we will still be exercising due diligence as far as continued testing because the service is so new. But we are very impressed with the results so far," Moriarty says.
FirstPoint does have competition. Speedera Networks launched a similar service last month called Global Traffic Management. Speedera's service also automatically routes end users to the closest, best performing content server.
However, one of the biggest differences between Speedera's service and Akamai's is the price. Speedera's service is US$3,500 per site per month. Akamai's service is $5,500 per site per month.
The reason for the difference in price could be related to size: Speedera's network comprises 30 locations today (with 100 planned for year-end), while Akamai's network is already collocated with more than 160 ISPs.