Cisco, Akamai team to boost branch performance

Akamai Connect frees WAN from optimization, caching

Cisco and Akamai this week announced a collaboration to boost application performance for branch office sites.

The companies rolled out Akamai Connect, an enhancement to Cisco ISR-AX branch routers that better optimizes HTTP traffic to allow businesses to deliver, for example, HD digital content over bandwidth-constrained networks with minimal impact. Akamai Connect combines WAN optimization with content caching to boost the performance of cloud-based business and Web applications.

The partnership extends one the companies struck late last year to integrate Akamai’s Unified Performance technology into Cisco’s ISR-AX branch routers to optimize WAN and hybrid cloud performance.

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Features of Akamai Connect include a transparent cache capability for private cloud/data center, which  uses Akamai’s HTTP object cache for Web applications to create LAN-like performance for Intranet Web applications, and to offload the corporate WAN. Another is dynamic HTTP cache for public cloud/Internet, which is an object and byte level cache for HTTP content even though URLs for the same HTTP objects frequently change.

The technology combination is also designed to allow IT to position any content with a URL inside the branch during non-peak hours and improve performance during work hours by offloading content from the corporate WAN.

Akamai Connect is targeted at several vertical markets, such as retail, with eCatalogs, guest Wi-Fi and online product demos; banks opening virtual branches; schools delivering a content-rich media curriculum; healthcare clinics sharing large images such as X-Rays; and enterprises delivering sales or new hire training.

The offering can be managed through Cisco’s WAAS Central Manager application for WAN optimization. This interface can provide one-click enablement of Akamai Connect, visualization and reporting, and scheduling of content positioning.

Akamai Connect is packaged as an integrated component of Cisco WAAS WAN optimization software, or as blade and native form factors on the Cisco ISR G2 router. It is offered as an add-on license, a perpetual right-to-use license, or on the Cisco Global Price List as a Cisco product.

Pricing for Akamai Connect starts at $3,000 for 200 connections.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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