BOSTON (05/31/2000) - Marry technologies from switch maker ArrowPoint Communications Inc. with ASP NaviSite Inc. and what do you get? A way to give enterprise users the goods to manage their e-commerce and business-to-business applications the same way they manage Web site content.
The joint development deal the two firms are working on calls for ArrowPoint to develop new features for the software that runs on its switches and NaviSite to offer new services that work with those feature sets. The result should be a way for users to provide better application services to their employees and the people they do business with.
NaviSite Chief Technology Officer Peter Kirwan says his firm is looking to take the next step in solving one of the biggest problems faced by companies using applications that run over the Internet: How to provide quality-of-service agreements for companies with users around the world both inside and outside of their corporate networks. Kirwan says the two companies will offer the technology in pieces over the next several months but didn't offer specifics for pricing and feature availability.
What is clear is that in order for users to get reliable application services, ASPs and switch makers will have to find a way to deal with issues such as reliability and speed of servers and network performance in a data center environment, says Peter Firstbrook, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut.
"There are still ducks to be gotten in a row [by ASPs], but being able to provide time-sensitive applications over the Internet is what ASPs need to do,"Firstbrook says. "And anything they can do to get rid of network latency is going to be good for end users." Providing tools to help process end-user requests more efficiently should help alleviate latency problems.
To solve problems associated with managing applications hosted at data centers, such as latency, NaviSite and ArrowPoint are borrowing some methods used in content delivery. By routing users' requests to the data center closest to them, the applications and data requested by users will arrive more quickly than from an arbitrary or central location. NaviSite and ArrowPoint will provide separate pieces of what is needed, Kirwan says.
For example, ArrowPoint will add features to its switch software that are designed to take advantage of application management and monitoring services offered by NaviSite. Kirwan says the services and switch features will be released over the next several months.
At least one feature on the ArrowPoint switches will determine where an application end user is routed, based on the user's profile. NaviSite's software will provide monitoring and management tools that optimize server and network performance, allowing changes to be made if performance isn't what it's supposed to be. For example, streaming servers in different data centers could be linked and tapped to provide streaming applications if one couldn't get the job done.
Kirwan says the firm is also looking to let end users develop custom performance metrics for their applications and provide services to improve performance based on the metrics.