IBM Partners with Akamai to Speed Apps Across the Web from Cloud to Enterprise

IBM and Akamai team up to help organizations accelerate the delivery of applications across the Web and through the cloud using new appliance technology.

LAS VEGAS-In a partnership with Akamai, IBM has announced new offerings designed to speed the delivery of Web and cloud applications to the employees, partners and customers who rely on them.

At the IBM Impact 2011 conference here, IBM officials said the new offerings are part of a multiphase initiative that integrates IBM WebSphere technology with Akamai's global application delivery network.

As part of its relationship with Akamai, IBM is introducing WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks, which is available now. In the future, IBM plans to introduce two additional offerings, WebSphere Application Accelerator for Hybrid Networks and a supporting product-IBM DataPower Edge Appliance XE82.

IBM WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks helps businesses deliver applications faster by reducing the time it takes for information to move from the data center across the Internet to users on the public Internet, IBM said. The solution also helps protect and secure applications through a scalable network of tens of thousands of servers that can be instantly called upon to serve unexpected bursts of traffic or to protect against intentionally malicious attacks. WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks is available now in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore, and will be rolled out in other countries over the course of the year, IBM officials said.

Moreover, to speed enterprise access to public cloud and software-as-a-service (SAAS) applications, IBM plans to introduce IBM WebSphere Application Accelerator for Hybrid Networks, which will create a hybrid network between private enterprise networks and the public Internet. Organizations seeking to increase the speed and reliability of their interactions with public cloud and SAAS applications will benefit from this offering, the company said.

And to bring Akamai's technology into their private networks, organizations using IBM WebSphere Application Accelerator for Hybrid Networks will require IBM's DataPower Edge Appliance XE82. This appliance is expected to give enterprises a first-of-its-kind solution that brings the benefits of the Akamai network inside their firewalls, speeding access to applications hosted in the public cloud.

Indeed, by monitoring the strain on data center resources, IBM expects the Edge Appliance to add a new layer of intelligence to the new WebSphere Application Accelerator solutions, company officials said. Through this blend of locally owned and remotely rented network and computing infrastructure, clients will be able to boost application availability and speed both inbound and outbound network traffic.

Moreover, in addition to its role in bringing Akamai inside clients' firewalls, IBM's DataPower Edge Appliance XE82 also is expected to help clients using IBM WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks achieve faster application delivery while reducing data center, infrastructure and network costs.

"The applications we depend on both as consumers and in the enterprise require a great deal of data center resources," said Marie Wieck, general manager for application and integration middleware at IBM, in a statement. "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."

IBM said the continuing rise of interactive Web applications such as collaboration and supply chain management and the rapid growth of mobile applications are placing new demands on businesses' data centers and Internet infrastructure. When these systems are overburdened, it becomes difficult to deliver the intended user experience, resulting in poor application adoption, lost revenue and productivity. At the same time, businesses today have high expectations for Web application availability and performance. They are increasingly attracted to the flexibility of cloud delivery models, but they don't want to sacrifice application performance.

In the past, the only way to improve application performance over the Internet was to build out data centers. Similarly, the only way to ensure that cloud applications performed well within the enterprise was to build complex acceleration infrastructures with each individual cloud service provider. Last year, however, IBM and Akamai set about addressing these challenges with new offerings that accelerate traffic between the public cloud and the data center, and in turn improve application performance for users both inside and outside the enterprise.

BrandMaker GmbH, a leading European supplier of marketing resource management systems, said it looks for WebSphere Application Accelerator for Public Networks to cost-effectively speed the delivery of its own software, which is provided to clients around the world through the cloud. The company's software is currently used by more than 1,500 customers with operations in 84 countries. Among its clients are Commerzbank, Ernst & Young, Lufthansa, Sara Lee, Siemens and UBS, and many other well-known brands, IBM said.

"This combination of IBM and Akamai technologies represents the future for the delivery of software as a service," said Mirko Holzer, CEO of BrandMaker, in a statement. "Until now, if you wanted to offer software as a service, you needed to use data centers around the world and spend millions of dollars synchronizing their operations. Using this offering, BrandMaker and other cloud providers can offer clients around the world a faster user experience at a price they can afford."

"Enterprise users of cloud-based or software-as-a-service applications are often subjected to unacceptable performance and availability," said Willie Tejada, vice president of Application and Site Acceleration at Akamai, in a statement. "Together, IBM and Akamai have the technologies needed to address the challenges posed by these increasingly popular application delivery models. 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."