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Inktomi gets investment from Intel

Inktomi, a developer of scalable network applications designed to reduce congestion on the Internet, receives a $2 million cash investment from Intel.

Inktomi, a developer of scalable network applications designed to reduce congestion on the Internet, today said it has received a $2 million cash investment from Intel (INTC), which is looking to boost the use of its Intel-based servers.

Under the strategic alliance, Intel and Engines firing up Inktomi will collaborate on the development and porting of Inktomi's Traffic Server network cache product, gearing it up to run on Intel architecture.

Traffic Server is designed to reduce Internet congestion and bandwidth costs by eliminating redundant traffic and moving data closer to users within a network.

The server is targeted at Internet service providers, telecommunication companies, and backbone carriers, and currently is being beta-tested at UUNet, NTT in Japan, and at Australian email provider OzEmail. It will be formally unveiled at the end of the month. Inktomi also has a highly scalable search engine that it sells to OEM partners. For example, it runs HotWired's HotBot engine as well as the search functions for NTT and OzEmail.

The Inktomi-Intel deal calls for Intel to receive non-exclusive distribution rights to the Target Server product. Intel will receive stock in the privately held company, but will not receive a board seat.

The relationship with Inktomi enables Intel to build on its networking strategy and stimulate growth for networked systems and products.

(Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.)

Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman, said the investment makes sense for Intel because Inktomi "is a good company with compelling technology."

He explained that the deal is twofold: Inktomi will move its high-performance cache technology to Intel-based servers, and the Internet's infrastructure will be improved by reduced congestion.

"Intel's corporate business development group makes investments to bring technology into Intel and to generate better technology in the market to ensure growth in the market for PCs," said Mulloy.

Shernaz Daver, an Inktomi spokeswoman, said Inktomi?s product reduces Internet congestion by allowing users in close proximity to share cached copies of information, thus reducing the load on the backbone. For example, when many users in San Francisco tried to access information about Princess Diana's death from Web sites hosted in England, a cached copy would be stored locally, thus cutting down on access time and reducing traffic clogs.

"The cached copy would be closer because it stores information locally," Daver explained.

The product currently runs on Sun Microsystems' (SUNW) flavor of Unix, called Solaris, and the Sun-Inktomi alliance will use technology resources from both Intel and Inktomi to bring the product to the Intel architecture. It also will allow Intel to build on its networking strategy.

"The Intel investment validates Inktomi as a startup that knows what it is doing," Daver said. "It is a boost of confidence and a validation in the market place."