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Akamai, F5 in deal to speed Web content

Akamai Technologies strikes a technology deal with F5 Networks to speed delivery of Web content to Internet surfers.

Akamai Technologies struck a technology deal today with F5 Networks to speed delivery of Web content to Internet surfers.

Akamai, which has set up a sprawling network of systems to speed access to Web sites, plans to build a piece of software for network load-balancing and traffic management appliances built by F5 Networks. The relationship will allow customers of both companies' technology--about 300 corporate and Web site customers--to access Web content at a faster rate, according to executives.

F5 intends to use the Akamai software "plug-in" for its high-end appliances, as well as its task-specific hardware, like the appliances used for directing traffic through a corporate firewall. F5's appliances essentially serve as a traffic cop, while Akamai's service simply speeds content to a Web surfer by housing it as close as it can to that person.

The F5 technology will convert ordinary Web content into traffic optimized for Akamai's service. That approach could extend to other technologies, especially as alternative devices are used to access the Internet in the future, according to Steve Goldman, senior vice president of sales, marketing and service.

"Devices like ours behind the scenes can convert things," Goldman said. "This is a first step."

The technology combination will go into tests next month, with availability scheduled for the third quarter of this year, according to Ravi Sundarajan, Akamai's director of business development.

The relationship is not exclusive, according to the companies. Akamai announced a similar deal in March of this year with CacheFlow, a network caching appliance maker.