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Content delivery becomes application delivery

May 22, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsManaged Service Providers

* CDN vendors looking at application delivery as next challenge

For more than a year, I’ve been writing about the evolution of content delivery networks. The CDN story started with a focus on avoiding Internet bottlenecks and speeding the delivery of static content. That led to delivery of streaming, dynamic content and more.

Now the focus for many CDNs is on application delivery. This is something Akamai has talked about for a while, and last week I wrote about its announcement of its first service in this area: Akamai EdgeComputing Powered by WebSphere.

Mirror Image is another CDN that talks a lot about the future of application delivery on its network of content access points, or CAPs. Mirror Image CTO Bob Hammond recently told me that the CDN has developed a rules-based content switch that uses business logic to handle application processing at the edge.

“So if you want to distribute content or distribute an application that is written in Java, you can already do it on our CAP network,” he says.

Both Mirror Image and Akamai stress that content delivery and streaming remain important to them.

“But the direction really has been a shift away from thinking about a CDN as delivering content to delivering applications,” says Bobby Blumofe, vice president of technology strategy at Akamai. “What we provide is the ability to make applications run more reliably with better performance and greater scalability.”

Customers save money at the same time, because by pushing application processing out to the edge they don’t have to provision as much of their own centralized infrastructure, he says.

Another company focused on application delivery is Netli. It’s a start-up that came right out of the gates with its eye squarely on application delivery. It launched its flagship service, NetLightning, last month. Customers include HP.

Are you ready to push your applications out to the edge? Let me know at