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Alteon, Inktomi cozy on caching

The two players will join forces next week to tackle the needs of Internet service providers and large corporate networks.

Two players, each with a different strategy for delving into the emerging market for speedy access to Web data, will join forces next week to tackle the needs of Internet service providers and large corporate networks.

Gigabit networking start-up Alteon Networks and Web specialist Inktomi will announce plans to integrate Alteon's hardware and cache redirection software with Inktomi's Traffic Server software system, according to executives from the two firms.

The caching concept basically allows frequently visited Web sites to be stored so that when users click on the site they can access the data through a dedicated caching system. In corporations, this will mean that users do not have to wait for download times across the public Net, since a cache server could parse data locally. In an ISP setting, a cache system could alleviate bandwidth congestion to overloaded Web server farms.

The duo hope to offer corporations and businesses with large networks the opportunity to implement a caching system that does not necessarily have to rely on a local caching presence next to a Web server farm, company executives said. Alteon and Inktomi plan to implement a remote caching redirection software mechanism, due in the second half of this year, that will allow cache servers to be location independent.

The basic problem is: "How do you avoid network meltdown?" Kevin Brown, director of marketing for Inktomi, said.

Alteon already announced plans in January to alleviate traffic to Web server farms by redirecting it to caching servers using a set of software housed within its server-focused network switching devices.

News of the deal comes amid a flurry of activity in the caching marketplace, with a combination of veteran server system providers such as Sun Microsystems and Network Appliance, as well as a slew of start-ups, rolling out various takes on caching.