Pivia to Launch App-Smart Server, Remote Version

The startup brings its unique brand of "application smart" technology to improve the performance of Web applications operating across any type of network connection.

Pivia Software Inc. on Monday will raise the bar for optimizing the performance of Web applications when it releases a new version of its Pivia Performance Server as well as a new remote version.

The startup brings its unique brand of "application smart" technology to improve the performance of Web applications operating across any type of network connection.

With remote offices moving farther away from the applications that serve them—and as portals grow in complexity and high-availability expectations rise for externally facing applications—the types of bottlenecks that enterprises face are changing, according to Biri Singh, CEO of the Cupertino, Calif., company.

"Its not just about having enough server resources, but how to deal with applications that dont scale and deal with integrated applications," he said. "Those are more complex problems to solve."

The Pivia Performance Server 4.0 includes patented capabilities to cache and invalidate objects based on application or user events, rather than just invalidating objects based on static expiration dates, as other caching products or content delivery networks do.

That "application smart caching" can cache more dynamic content such as documents or e-mail. "It can recognize what the user is doing, so it can invalidate the object it is caching," said Albert Gouyet, vice president of marketing. "That way, you return the objects much faster and offload the server. You dont have to query databases and put more complex pages together."

Users at J.C. Whitney Inc. found that the previous release of the software immediately quadrupled the performance of its e-commerce application, according to Geoff Robertson, director of technology for the Chicago, Ill., auto parts manufacturer.

"When we turned it on, our response time dropped from 20 seconds down to one," he said. "We had [solutions from] Akamai [Technologies Inc.] in-house, but we werent seeing a lot of performance improvements. It wasnt lightening the load on our servers. Pivia took all the stress off our Web and application servers."

Pivia Performance Server, installed in the data center, looks at HTTP and HTTPS packets and their payloads to better optimize response time. The new release also adds a response-prioritization feature that assigns priorities to static and dynamic object responses to reduce wait times for high-traffic sites. And a new response rewriter can reduce user disruption by adding subtle changes to packet headers so that error pages are not cached.

The new Pivia Performance Server Remote Edition is intended for organizations with a larger number of remote offices. It can optimize one or multiple specific applications by caching objects in the remote server that are shared by multiple users at a remote site.

"You can cache applications and documents at the edge, but you dont relinquish control over them," Gouyet said, adding that it is especially useful for document collaboration between users at a central and remote site.

"With PPS and PPS Remote in the middle, we recognize there is a document in our cache, we will send a request that asks, Has this document changed and does the user have access to it?

"If we find out things are OK, its just no change information that goes through the network, and we serve the document at high speed to the remote user," Gouyet said. If the document needs to be resent, it is optimized before it traverses the WAN.

The new server release and remote edition are due Monday. The Pivia Performance Server starts at $50,000, and the Pivia Performance Server Remote Edition starts at $20,000. Both run on Linux.

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