The rise in demand for mobile applications and web applications can put a strain on data centers and bandwidth. To address the need to improve performance in cloud computing, IBM (news, site) and Akamai (news, site) have developed the WebSphere Application Accelerator, which will improve performance of web and cloud applications through distributed computing.

Accelerating Response Time Through Distributed Computing

Running applications on the cloud often carries the risk of slow speeds and high latency, which can be counterproductive, especially in mission-critical applications. The best way to improve performance and reduce network latency is usually to build or set up more data centers. In the case of cloud applications, enterprises often find the need to establish their own acceleration infrastructure to ensure adequate performance. IBM and Akamai's partnership aims to help businesses reduce data center and bandwidth costs by improving information flow between the data center and end users through Akamai's existing network.

The IBM WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks uses Akamai's network of 84,000 servers across the globe. Currently available in the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, the system essentially makes up a scalable cloud-based content delivery network, which makes it easier for end users to gain access to information. The system also acts as a safeguard against traffic spikes and traffic attacks by distributing the load throughout the Akamai infrastructure.

Marie Wieck, IBM general manager for application and integration middleware, notes that IBM and Akamai's offering will help reduce enterprises' data center resource requirements.

The new solutions we've created in collaboration with Akamai provide clients with a cost-effective and secure way of speeding the delivery of applications from the enterprise through the Internet to the end user and back."

Speeding Up Hybrid Networks

Apart from accelerating public networks, IBM and Akamai also plan to launch the WebSphere Application Accelerator for Hybrid Networks, which will benefit enterprise users who require interfacing between their private networks and public SaaS applications. This system requires IBM's DataPower Edge Appliance XE82, which will monitor the strain on data center resources, and will essentially incorporate Akamai acceleration into the private network.

Willie Tejada, Akamai vice president for application and site acceleration, says that the hybrid network accelerator will improve application delivery times for both internal and outbound traffic.

The availability of the public and hybrid network products will also help customers bring their WebSphere applications to market faster, more efficiently, and at less cost."

Flexible Options for Enterprise Users

IBM's WebSphere Application Accelerator will help simplify application management, and improve performance at the same time. The IBM and Akamai partnership offers flexible options, giving enterprise users a choice of products and services. The DataPower Edge Appliance XE82 is a required appliance for the WebSphere Application Accelerator for Hybrid Networks, but the appliance is only an optional add-on to the WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks. IBM says the appliance will further improve the performance of applications and content delivery from behind the firewall to end users outside the firewall, though.

IBM's and Akamai's offerings will be a managed service that will run on a usage-based charging system. IBM has yet to announce availability of its XE82 appliance, although the WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks is already an existing service.