Novell Accelerates the Internet With IBM, Digi Assistance

In an effort to ensure that Web servers perform at their optimum levels, and businesses do not lose customers to poor Web performance, Novell Inc. has partnered with Digi Int'l (Minneapolis, www.dgii.com) and IBM Corp. to provide a turnkey Web acceleration solution.

To solve the problem of slow Web server response time, corporations will typically either upgrade or replace their current Web servers with more powerful machines or distribute their Web site content across multiple load-balanced servers. Both of these solutions can be expensive and inefficient. A much more inexpensive and efficient way of boosting Web server performance is through caching, in which frequently accessed static Web site content is stored on a Web accelerator system.

Novell recently introduced BorderManager FastCache, a Web accelerator solution that managers can configure on UNIX, Windows NT, Macintosh and NetWare networks. The product includes proxy caching, hierarchical network caching and Web server acceleration services, and runs on a single Pentium II-based machine.

Aiming to provide an out-of-the-box Web accelerator solution, Novell has teamed up with IBM and Digi Int'l to create a solution bundle that packs Novell BorderManager FastCache with IBM's Netfinity 325 Server equipped with Digi's DataFire SYNC/570 WAN adapters.

The Novell/IBM/Digi Web accelerator bundle is paired with a Web server and assumes the IP address of the Web server. All user requests for static content -- such as HTTP, HTML, graphics, sound and video -- are handled by the Web accelerator. If the requested information is located in the cache, it is immediately served. If not, the accelerator fills its cache from the Web server and delivers the requested information. Performance is increased not only by offloading the majority of work from the Web server, but also by having frequently accessed information immediately available from the cache.

When a request is made for dynamic information such as CGI or PERL scripts, the accelerator passes the requests directly to the Web server for processing, which passes the requested information back to the accelerator for delivery. Since 90 to 100 percent of the information requested by users is of the static variety, most Web content can be cached.

According to independent testing firm Mindcraft Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif., www.mindcraft.com), BorderManager FastCache can process 4,055 hits per second or 350 million hits per day.

Novell is targeting the BorderManager FastCache bundle to Web-enabled businesses and Internet service providers. "This solution is compelling because it delivers a fully configured plug-and-play integrated package to small and medium ISPs who are looking to deliver reliable Internet acceleration solutions to their customers," explains David Trotter, Novell vice president of channel sales, noting that the bundle presents a new business opportunity for Novell's channel partners.

The bundled Novell/IBM/Digi Web accelerator solution is available now. Pricing was not set at time of print but is expected to be less than $6000.