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CMGI leads construction of network services company

The Internet investment company, Sun Microsytems and Novell team to supply network services to Web sites and to application and Internet service providers.

CMGI, Sun Microsystems and Novell today said they are teaming to create a joint venture that will supply network services to Web sites and to application and Internet service providers.

Internet investment company CMGI will be the majority owner of Andover, Mass.-based CMGion. The new company appears to be a hybrid of data caching services, such as those provided by Akamai Technologies and Sandpiper, and advertising delivery services such as those from DoubleClick, which brings specific advertisements to consumers' desktops based on profiles stored on people's personal computers.

CMGI said Sun and Novell each have invested $20 million in CMGion and will contribute technology to the venture. Novell plans to provide directory and caching software, and Sun will provide server hardware. CMGI chief executive David Wetherell will serve as the company's interim CEO.

The company plans to incorporate anonymous and permission-based profiling technology from Engage Technologies to bring more efficient content and advertising to the desktop, Wetherell said at a press conference today.

CMGion also plans to set up data centers around the world and to use its technology to connect them as one large virtual data center, helping to improve the speed of the data flowing across the network.

The company will generate revenues from fees to access the CMGion network and from licensing fees for those who want to set up similar networks.

Wetherell said it will cost between $200 million and $300 million to build the first four data centers.

"We think there is a huge market for this," Wetherell said. "Instead of having to replicate Web site hosting across 30 data centers around the world to be closer to where the populations are, we will only be storing parts of the Web site in these data centers based on intelligent caches."

CMGion also plans to work with Internet application services provider Navisite for application hosting services.