April 16, 2009, 12:00 AM

Limelight Networks launches new platform to deliver web content

Limelight Networks recently introduced LimelightSITE, a new web content delivery platform supported by a fiber-optic backbone and designed to avoid Internet bottlenecks for all types of content appearing on web pages.

Limelight Networks recently introduced LimelightSITE, a new web content delivery platform supported by a fiber-optic backbone and designed to avoid Internet bottlenecks for all types of content appearing on web pages.

Launched on March 31, LimelightSITE is serving a market long dominated by content delivery network Akamai Technologies Inc., says Dan Rayburn, a principal analyst in the digital media group of research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

Before it introduced LimelightSITE, Limelight Networks focused mostly on delivering large objects like a two-hour, high definition movie. With LimelightSITE, it’s moving more into Akamai’s market by delivering a broader range of objects by type and size, including virtually all of the text and images that appear on web pages.

Among the special features of LimelightSITE is a new Internet traffic routing system that helps to speed content delivery by directing it to Limelight’s own fiber-optic Internet backbone. Limelight is headed by chairman and CEO Jeff Lunsford, who formerly headed web analytics company WebSideStory, which changed its named to Visual Sciences Inc. before it was acquired last year by Omniture Inc.

Rayburn suggests that while there may be some overlap in how Limelight and Akamai serve the overall content delivery market, they also appear to be targeting customers with different needs. He notes that Akamai, for example, acquired ad-targeting network Acerno last fall to serve up online ads tied to an online consumer’s interests.

“With Limelight already having over 160 customers for their new LimelightSITE offering, it proves that there is room in the market for both Akamai and Limelight with different offerings,” Rayburn says in a posting on StreamingMedia.com, an information site where he serves as executive vice president.

Pedro Santos, Akamai’s chief strategist for e-commerce, says he’s not familiar enough with LimelightSITE to comment on how it fits in the content delivery market. He notes that Akamai is constantly making enhancements to its several product lines to address the full scope of web site performance needs. “The need of organizations in terms of delivering web content has drastically changed over the last ten years, especially when you think about retailers,” Santos says.

Online merchants, he adds, must optimize the entire e-commerce experience, from serving up targeted ads and providing fast page loads to ensuring online security and the ability to handle peak traffic loads. “Akamai hits every piece of that,” he says. Akamai’s several product lines support dynamic site content, rich media, targeted ads, software downloads and applications for running things like back-office software and online portals for trading partners.

Demand for content delivery network services is expanding, Rayburn adds. “While there is no way to truly know what the market size is for outsourced application delivery services, it is quickly growing,” he says. Rayburn says he expects to see more content delivery network providers enter the market once the economy picks up.

 

 

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