LAS VEGAS (05/11/2000) - With many Web sites expected to use streaming media in the next year, CacheFlow Inc. is incorporating the technology into its cache systems to speed content delivery.
CacheFlow will integrate multimedia support into its CacheOSTM software that runs its cache devices. The software will help deliver live and on-demand streaming content for the three leading streaming formats - RealNetworks Inc.'s RealSystem, Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media and Apple Computer Inc.'s QuickTime software - that allow content to be played on desktops. CacheFlow is also supporting MP3 and MPEG video/graphical and audio formats.
The idea is to prevent the scenario all too familiar to many Web surfers: They try to download a piece of video or audio from a Web site only to find they don't have the right plug-ins or have a long wait as the site's Web server works to put together content on the fly.
On the edge
The multimedia support will let CacheOSTM customers place streaming-content applications on their cache devices.
Because the content sits on the cache device, user requests don't have to be sent to a Web server for processing.
The ability to have cache devices sitting on the edge of the network fielding requests saves access time for the requester and money for the company hosting the site because customers won't have to add server farms and associated networks to support more live content.
In addition to helping e-commerce sites deliver video and audio for buying and entertainment purposes, CacheFlow hopes to appeal to enterprise users who want to deliver corporate broadcasts and online training over the Web to their employees and customers who may be spread out over the globe.
"A lot of companies are going to use streaming media as a way to differentiate their site and make it more attractive for users," says Greg Howard, an analyst with High-Tech Resource Group in San Andreas, California.
"But there are also new content types coming out all the time, and it can become difficult for users to figure out which ones to support. But if they have a device that takes care of that for them, it makes it a lot easier," Howard says.
Howard said research by his company indicates that 95% of companies will invest this year in technology that helps speed content delivery.
And cache devices are going to be a key part of that: 62 percent of those interviewed plan to deliver content themselves rather than farming it out to a third party, such as Akamai, which distributes content around the world in data centers, putting it physically closer to users.
Multimedia support for CacheOSTM is available immediately. Support for RealSystem costs an additional $7,500.