CMGI, Novell, Sun to Create Hosting Network

SAN MATEO (04/14/2000) - Setting their sights on creating a global Internet network to enable a host of profile-based services, CMGI Inc., Novell Inc., and Sun Microsystems Inc. joined this week to form a new company known as CMGion.

CMGion will build a worldwide network of data centers, forming an Internet Operating Network (ION) that ASPs (application service providers), corporate Web sites, ISPs, and proprietary networks can use to host the most-viewed sections of their Web sites, thus speeding up access and response times for users.

CMGion customers will also be able to access a wealth of consumer profile information through the network, allowing them to streamline their users' Web experiences.

"To deliver the increased performance, we're taking advantage of some of Novell's technology as well as [CMGI's Engage technology] to 'mine the flow' of data in and out, not only of these data centers, but of the servers at the edge of the network or the clients and users themselves," said David Wetherell, chairman and CEO of CMGI.

Wetherell said CMGion will use digital identity and profile information as well as anonymous profiling to collect data.

On the hardware side, Sun will provide appliance and server platforms as well as operating system components. CMGI will incorporate technology from Sun and Novell with that of CMGI companies, such as anonymous profiling features from Engage, to augment server/user-level profiling and conduct network-level profiling.

Novell will provide the software components for CMGion, including Novell Internet Caching System (ICS) services software and protocols, eDirectory, digitalme digital identity technology, and Net services software.

One analyst noted that personalization of services is on most vendor's radar screens, especially for content delivery, and he sees some hurdles that CMGion must deal with before it can really fly.

"For these guys, I think the more difficult part is getting [their service] out there so it will work with all the sites, and it will be in a lot of the hosting sites [and] data centers," said Colin Mahony, senior analyst at The Yankee Group, in Boston.

"Lessons learned from content delivery networks have told us that companies like Akamai that build their network in a number of different hosting companies is a more compelling story than to have one [company such as] Level 3 or NaviSite [doing it all]," Mahony added.

CMGI Inc., in Andover, Mass., is at www.cmgi.com. Novell Inc., in Provo, Utah, is at www.novell.com. Sun Microsystems Inc., in Palo Alto, California, is at www.sun.com.

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