Startup Puts an Edge On Caching

FRAMINGHAM (04/24/2000) - The Internet is the slowest link when it comes to caching content for large corporate networks and ISPs - at least that's what the founders of startup service provider Edgix Corp. are counting on.

Edgix's product, edgeMedia, taps a broadband satellite network to transmit caches of data to speed the delivery of Internet content to users, a technique dubbed "edge caching." Other companies, such as Cidera Inc. (formerly SkyCache), have similar products.

Two of the original developers of Novell Inc.'s NetWare, Drew Major and Kyle Powell, established the firm in December 1998. A third founder, Mark Hurst, is known for his early work with WordPerfect.

EdgeMedia uses Novell's ICS to cache data locally at its sites and at customer locations. A master cache, located at one of Edgix's global network operation centers in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, gathers frequently accessed data and stores it in cache.

CacheAdvisor, specialized Edgix software, delivers the cached data to a data store located at the company or an ISP via broadband point-to-multipoint satellite transmission. Once data reaches the local cache, which is one hop away from the user, it is delivered to the customer over the corporate network, digital subscriber line, cable modem or dial-up lines. A satellite disk, receiver and caching appliance comprise the local cache at the customer location. Edgix has initial agreements with Dell Computer Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. to use their caching appliances. If all satellite transmission fails, the terrestrial Internet steps in as a last resort.

Using broadband satellites for data transmission allows CacheAdvisor to bypass the Internet, speeding delivery of Web content up to 45M bit/sec, the company claims.

"Today, we use caching in Germany where Internet access is not 'all you can use' for the same price - they still charge a per-megabyte service charge." says Chip DiComo, a network manager for Hellman Worldwide Logistics, a worldwide shipping company in Miami. DiComo uses caching at the company's global sites and says he may find edge caching useful. "We have latency issues, primarily in South Africa because data between Miami and South Africa is more often than not taking a convoluted path, causing delays," he says.

EdgeMedia is in beta testing now and is expected to ship by midsummer.


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