March 11, 2010, 12:00 AM

New CDNetworks system speeds content flow between web servers and browsers

Content delivery network CD Networks has introduced an application designed to speed the delivery of content from web-based applications, such as those in software-as-a-service environments that support retail web sites.

Content delivery network CD Networks International has introduced an application designed to speed the delivery of content from web-based applications, such as those in software-as-a-service environments that support retail web sites.

Recent research reports have indicated strong growth in SaaS deployments among retailers. Research and advisory firm Gartner Inc., for example, has noted that by 2013 90% of e-commerce sites will subscribe to at least one SaaS-based application, such as a product recommendation engine, while 40% of e-commerce deployments will use a complete SaaS platform.

John Milburn, president of CDNetworks, contends that SaaS clients have had few options for accelerating the performance of SaaS applications. “Until now, customers had little or no choice when searching for an application acceleration solution provider,” he says.

CDNetworks’ new Application Acceleration product uses industry standard TCP methods to optimize content transmissions across Internet routes. Beta tests have shown increases in transmission speed from two to ten times prior performance, the company says. TCP, or transmission control protocol, is a core Internet protocol for transmitting data between a web server and a web browser.

Such content acceleration, however, may still require additional improvements in content transmission to reap full benefits, says Mike Gualtieri, a senior analyst who focuses on web infrastructure and other technology matters at research and advisory firm Forrester Research Inc. He notes that acceleration can be improved in the “middle mile” of Internet transactions without improving speed throughout a complete transmission of content.

“I can see how TCP optimizations could improve the performance in the middle mile, but that is often an insignificant part of the total response time from browser to SaaS servers,” he says. “I would advise SaaS customers to profile their performance before jumping to quickly to this solution.”

Gualtieri adds that significant web performance issues may exist in web browser data-caching or within web servers. “Know where you bottlenecks are first and then find the solution.” he says. “My guess is that middle-mile performance is a minor part of the equation.”

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