Intel to speed e-commerce transactions

Intel is ready to roll out NetStructure networking devices designed to speed up XML-based e-commerce transactions.

The network control devices, designed to be used in conjunction with switches, load balancers, and other traffic management equipment, are built around a rules-based engine that analyses XML data and allows greater control than does URL-or port-based traffic management, according to Intel officials.

One analyst agreed that XML-based prioritisation makes sense.

"Industry-wide there is a lot of attention on quality of service and gaining the ability to sort data into different types and prioritise it according to applications and users," said Warren Wilson, a senior analyst at Summit Strategies. "Some of that happens in the packet headers, but XML adds more power to that process. XML is gaining currency in different settings and in some ways it is natural to apply it to e-commerce."

The 7280 XML Director can classify incoming requests based on XML transactions and prioritise the requests based on information such as trading partner, the value of the transaction, or time sensitivity.

Because XML tags can contain information such as company name, transaction date, and pricing, the 7280 can prioritise buyers over people who are just browsing, for example, or help deliver on SLAs (service-level agreements), according to officials at Intel.

"The XML component in Intel's new product permits greater speed and control, [looking] deeper into the data packets to assign priorities and manage your network according to preset policies," Wilson said.

The 7280 can also identify different XML dialects, such as Microsoft's BizTalk, Ariba's cXML, and the ebXML standard, and then direct them to the correct back-end servers for processing, Intel said.

The 7210 XML Accelerator can peer into the HTTP header to read and classify XML and speed transactions, Intel said.

"Companies doing business on the Internet have to differentiate. Business-to-business e-commerce companies need to adapt to different business models and business priorities, and XML is the underpinning technology of the transactions in the B2B space," said Brett Helm, general manager of Intel's network equipment division.

The 7280 XML Director and 7210 XML Accelerator will ship mid-year, with pricing yet to be set.

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