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CDN Vendors Hope To Cache In

If you're like me, the term content-delivery network conjures up the image of an auto company distributing streaming media to dealerships. After all, that type of application is typical for CDNs, but that market has languished in the past few years with flat growth.

CDN vendors haven't stood still, though, while their initial market dried up. Their products now include many features that appeal to the enterprise market.

At NetWorld+Interop last month, I checked out CDNs that offer such features as forced backup of remote clients, automated server-to-client updates of modified files and peer-to-peer updates of modified files.

Think about these in terms of remote offices. When changes are made to template documents, those updates can be propagated automatically to every office. If you have an office in charge of keeping a particular database up to date, the peer-to-peer features will let you set rules that will propagate those changes to all other offices automatically. If you have offices connected via slow links, like ISDN or dial-up, you can set rules to batch all changes up and submit them at specified intervals.

One vendor I spoke with, Enpia, will let you determine the level of synchronization you require. The company's product will even let you force OS files to remain synchronized on client machines. That means you will have more control over the machines in a remote office. Enpia even supports distributed updating, meaning you can set up one machine in the office as the "server" to receive distributed updates from your corporate data center, and that machine can then update all the other machines in the office.

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