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Oracle, Akamai team on caching technology

The two companies partner to create a technology they hope will become a new Internet standard for speeding up Web browsing.

    Oracle and Akamai Technologies have partnered to create a technology they hope will become a new Internet standard for speeding up Web browsing.

    The technology behind the potential standard would largely be invisible to Web surfers, but it would transfer Net content to people's computers faster, the companies said.

    The development is aimed at improving "caching" technology, which stores heavily requested Web information so requested Web pages can be retrieved more quickly.

    Historically, caching technology has handled either "dynamic" Web pages, which contain Web content that changes, or "static" Web pages, which do not. But not both. The new standard allows caching technology to handle Web pages that have both dynamic and static content.

    The technology from Oracle and Akamai, for example, will allow ESPN.com to cache the company logo. But it will also allow ESPN.com to cache sports scores that change frequently.

    The proposed standard, called Edge Side Includes, is a simple set of instructions that can be included on Web pages to allow Web sites to cache dynamic Web content that repeatedly changes, such as stock quotes or prices of online auction items, said John Magee, an Oracle product-marketing director.

    Oracle and Akamai executives said that in May they plan to submit the new standard to a Web standards organization, which they did not identify. Both companies say the standard can be used by rivals.

    Both companies plan to support the new standard in their caching technology. Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif., will include it in its forthcoming version of its Oracle 9i application server software, which sits between Web browsers and back-end databases and runs e-business transactions for Web sites. Oracle's application server includes caching technology, so every time a Web surfer requests information, the data doesn't have to be retrieved from back-end databases.

    Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai sells software and services to speed Web content delivery by hosting small pieces of Web sites, such as Yahoo or CNN.com, on different machines throughout the world. When a Web surfer wants information hosted on Akamai's network, the content is downloaded from a machine that is physically close to the surfer's computer.