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Akamai Boosts Web, Mobile App Performance

Akamai is adding two new products to its Terra Enterprise Solutions portfolio to use the cloud to improve IT performance in a number of areas, including application delivery, video streaming, security, Web site acceleration and more. On a Webcast Tuesday, Akamai executives introduced a new product that dramatically improves Web application performance and another that lets applications and Web sites open on mobile devices as quickly as they do on desktop computers.

It joins scores of other companies offering various performance improvements and network services, to deliver more content more efficiently to a broader array of devices, including more mobile ones, with lower latency and better security than has previously been available.

Akamai, which is known for application delivery technology, says its existing Web Application Accelerator (WAA) is good, but its new Terra Alta solution surpasses it in performance. Terra Alta extends Web application acceleration all the way from the data center to the network edge, explains Andy Champagne, vice president of technology and product in the Enterprise Cloud Division of Akamai.

“The ability to take acceleration and pull it all the way into the data center and accelerate the entire leg of the transaction ... really helps to improve end user performance in use cases where the last mile into the data center is problematic,” he says.

Another feature of Terra Alta, called Akamai Instant, allows it to “pre-fetch entire HTML pages” and associated content, says Champagne, that would be a logical next choice for the end user to select. For example, if a car maker displayed all of its models on one page, Akamai Instant would fetch the pages that would describe each model in more detail.

Also, Terra Alta eliminates what he calls “duplicate data in dynamic applications.” Champagne gives the example of a sales management tool that might have the same information for each sales person in an organization, but would only differ by the user name and other user-specific data. With Akamai technology called the Enterprise Edge Appliance, the system de-duplicates content that would otherwise have to traverse the network multiple times.

In a demonstration, the company showed a mock-up Web site running live on the Web and showed that running as is, it took an average of 10 seconds to complete a transaction. With one click, the app site was switched to run on the Akamai platform with Terra Alta and the response time dropped to 1 second.

Also new is a product to make Web site and Web application performance on mobile devices match that of the desktop experience. Compuware’s Gomez platform is well-known technology to measure the performance of Web applications. According to Gomez benchmarks, it takes a mobile Web site from 7.7 to 8 seconds to open, versus 2 seconds on a desktop computer, says Pedro Santos, VP of the Mobile Business at Akamai.

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