DataPower Gives Big Boost To XML Acceleration

DataPower Technology said Tuesday it has developed XML acceleration hardware capable of processing data at a rate of a gigabit a second, removing a significant barrier to the use of

May 5, 2004

2 Min Read
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DataPower Technology said Tuesday it has developed XML acceleration hardware capable of processing data at a rate of a gigabit a second, removing a significant barrier to the use of XML in passing business documents between corporate computer systems.

The XG4 family of chips and modules is the fourth generation of XML acceleration hardware developed by the Cambridge, Mass.-based company. But the latest technology, which the company plans to demonstrate at the Networld+Interop conference in Las Vegas, Nev., next week, goes way beyond the capabilities of its predecessors.

"This removes any objections to XML as being too slow or not robust enough," Eugene Kuznetsov, chairman and chief technology officer of the privately held company, said. "Performance is no longer a reason for not using XML in any application."

DataPower is offering XG4 subsystems to original equipment manufacturers who want to embed the technology in their network and data center appliances, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, blade server chassises and switches. Licensing terms were not released.

The company plans to embed the technology into its own network appliances -- the XA35 XML Accelerator and the XS40 XML Security Gateway. No release date has been set.The processing power required to parse XML documents, as well as validate data elements and security, has had an impact on the use of emerging technologies dependent on XML, such as web services. The latter is expected by many experts to become the next generation standard for integrating business applications over the Internet.

"Companies want to do these things, but the performance issue can be a real deal stopper," Ronald Schmelzer, analyst for ZapThink LLC, said. "If you can't figure out how to make it work better, than you just won't do it."

XML overhead also has caused some companies to adopt questionable practices, such as not validating data elements within an arriving XML document, Schmelzer said. Instead, companies will often validate documents from business partners during the testing stage, and then assume once the system goes into production, that everything received will contain good data.

The danger, of course, is that the incoming data may be bad, which means it will later need to be corrected manually.

Today, a lot of XML processing is handled by the application server, which can affect the amount of resources available to process business logic. "What (DataPower) is saying is if people are dedicating an application server just to do XML processing, then it may make a lot more sense just to offload that task to a separate box," Schmelzer said.0

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