Appliance Boosts Web App Performance

FineGround's Velocity can boost end-user response times.

Web applications performance management provider FineGround Networks Inc. next week will deliver its software in an appliance form factor.

The Campbell, Calif., companys Velocity appliance will bring FineGrounds brand of Web applications acceleration technology to users looking for improved end-user response times. Velocity will be available next week starting at $50,000.

The appliance combines FineGrounds AppScope performance monitoring and Condenser performance optimization software for Web applications in a preconfigured Intel Corp. hardware platform running Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux.

The appliance can bring down the TCO (total cost of ownership) of such offerings, and it is often more appealing to network operations personnel, said Peter Christy, an analyst at NetsEdge Research Group, in Los Altos, Calif. "The case for an appliance grows over time," said Christy. "IT is under pressure to do more for less."

For that reason, it was a requirement for FineGround to be in the running for new business with General Motors Corp., said Arvind Sabharwal, GMs director of infrastructure and telecommunications, in Detroit.

"GM is a completely outsourced environment," said Sabharwal. "When we have to buy products that are not appliance-based, our integration costs go up quite a bit, our procurement costs go up quite a bit. At the end of the day, our TCO is very high compared to buying an appliance. We are looking at maybe three times the cost if we go the software route versus buying an integrated appliance."

Rather than transmit entire pages, FineGrounds algorithms can decide whats changed and send only the differences. They do so without requiring changes to the application or the installation of agents on the desktop. They also allow the browser to assume that all the information in its cache is new, said officials. The techniques can improve performance to remote end users by as much as 300 percent, they said.

The appliance can support up to 100 page views per second and sustain bandwidth rates of up to 35M bps. It competes with acceleration appliances from vendors such as Expand Networks Inc., Redline Networks Inc. and NetScaler Inc., although they provide acceleration at Layers 2 and 3 of the protocol stack. FineGround operates at Layers 4 through 7, Sabharwal said.