Startups Focus on Dynamic Content

FineGround, NetGratus tools work with existing caching technology to speed delivery of Web pages

Two new companies set to launch this week will roll out products that speed the delivery of dynamic content Upstart FineGround Networks Inc.s Condenser software, deployed between the content server and the firewall, eliminates redundant traffic by transmitting only the incremental changes that occur between site visits. The solution will complement existing caching products.

The second company, NetGratus Inc., uses a slightly different approach that also works with existing caching technology. NetGratus breaks up the elements of each Web page into either static or dynamic elements using a technology called LiveML, which users can configure by setting expiration dates on various elements. Static elements are cached at users hard drives, while individual dynamic elements are automatically refreshed in real time.

"LiveML makes the whole experience more interactive, much quicker and much more usable," said Derek Butcher, director of engineering for Walt Disney Internet Group, in Sunnyvale, Calif. Butchers group is evaluating LiveML for use on and the companys other Internet properties. "I think this is the first step in something that will be a larger trend, offloading content onto the client."

Established content delivery companies such as CacheFlow Inc. and SpiderCache Inc. also are trying to accelerate dynamic content delivery and will roll out versions of their products next week.

CacheFlow will introduce cIQ Director, an appliance that manages and distributes static, dynamic and secure content to the network edge. SpiderCache will release Version 1.5 of its appliance on Unix and Windows NT next week, which includes automatic configuration wizards and automated cache clearing.

"Everybody wants to serve dynamic content," said Greg Parker, president and CEO of SpiderCache, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Parker cited research showing Web sites with dynamic content will have grown from about 20 percent in 1999 to an estimated 85 percent by the end of this year. "Static content is fine but not for most sites today," he said.

Both FineGround and NetGratus are launching at the Demo conference this week in Phoenix.

NetGratus LiveML is available now, starting at $2,500 per CPU.

"Many people are trying to solve this problem by being smart at the server side," said John Shi, CEO of San Francisco-based NetGratus. "Our angle is we reformulate the page itself."

The FineGround Condenser software is available now on Linux, starting at $50,000. "The benefits of the product are twofold," said Natarajan Kausik, president and CEO of FineGround, in Campbell, Calif. "The product improves performance, and it sharply reduces bandwidth consumption."