IBM, Akamai Boost "Virtual Capacity"

The IT giant and content delivery specialist help customers handle network traffic surges on a pay-as-you-go basis.


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IBM and Akamai are teaming to help customers boost IT infrastructure capacity on a pay-as-you-go basis.

A joint offering ties IBM's WebSphere middleware to Akamai's edge server network. It can be hosted by a customer, business partner or IBM Global Services, the company's integration and consulting arm. Pricing will be announced later this quarter.

The option allows companies handle periodic traffic surges, such as a sales promotion that draws millions of Web site hits in a few hours. Such traffic can hobble a company's overall IT performance.

But with the new offering, customers can avoid slowdowns by extending applications running on WebSphere to Akamai's newtwork of 15,000 distributed servers.

For Big Blue, the pact helps move its database technology, Web services capability and security closer to the user, as well as enhance its on-demand computing effort. Other facets of the initiative include software products cover virtualization technology for storage and grid computing.

Earlier this week, Akamai posted a smaller first quarter loss and a modest revenue gain --its first in a year. The company is optimistic the IBM deal will further further help its business.

The concept of paying for increased capacity has been addressed by others in the content delivery network space. But Akamai spokesman Jeff Young said those services are from "niche players" who lack the Cambridge, Mass.-company's reach.

Young said the offering should appeal across several sectors, although e-commerce is a natural fit.

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