IBM Web Cache Manager Shortens Internet Access Times

Seascape storage solution also reduces costs for Internet Service Providers

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San Jose, Calif. - 29 Sep 1998: ... IBM today announced the availability of the IBM Web Cache Manager, an Internet web cache that can dramatically reduce long-distance data transmission costs, decrease network bottlenecks and improve response time for Internet and intranet users.

As an IBM Seascape Storage Enterprise Architecture*^ solution, the Web Cache Manager combines leading storage hardware and software components -- a powerful storage server engine, high performance disk and tape storage media, and storage management software -- into an integrated solution optimized for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and corporate intranet administrators.

The Web Cache Manager can reduce network bandwidth needs by delivering popular Web information directly from local storage. ISPs may eliminate up to six long distance transmission lines (T1s), resulting in potential overall savings of up to tens of thousands of dollars per month in many locations. An ISP can choose to use the reduction in bandwidth to increase profits, grow the number of users, or smooth traffic upswings at busy times of the day.

"We've all had to wait for Web information, a frustrating experience for both ISPs and users," said Bill Pinkerton, business line manager, Open Systems Storage, IBM Storage Systems Division. "The massive local storage capability of the Web Cache Manager helps to shorten wait time, thus improving customer satisfaction. ISPs benefit as well because the cost-efficiencies of the solution are so great, the system can pay for itself in as little as three months."

"We have one of the largest Internet backbones in the world, and plan to use web caching to help keep our rising costs in check by caching much of the Internet locally. The IBM Web Cache Manager provides an excellent means of doing this with its large amounts of efficient storage," said Scott Blandford, manager, IBM Internet Backbone, IBM Global Services.

Unlike competitive products, sometimes called Web proxy servers, the Web Cache Manager uses two kinds of storage media, disk (IBM 7133 Serial Disk System) and high-speed tape (IBM Magstar MP) to reduce storage costs. This combination of storage media gives ISPs the best possible price/performance and the largest cache sizes in the industry. The Web Cache Manager cleverly hides the tape access delay by always storing the first series of information on disk. Tape, which is five to ten times less costly than disk, is the most cost-effective medium for storing larger Web objects (1MB or more), which studies have shown to account for over 50 percent of Web traffic today. Additionally, Web Cache Manager offers advanced functions to ensure the most current information is retrieved.

As an IBM Seascape storage solution, the Web Cache Manager utilizes robust storage software to manage various functions. It incorporates the ADSTAR Distributed Storage Manager (ADSM) to manage the backup and recovery of network data. IBM hierarchical storage management (HSM) software transparently moves older and larger Web objects from disk to the tape library. This migration clears disk space for smaller, more popular objects.

Distributed Web Traffic Express (DWTE) is the software component that intercepts Internet requests from users, routes them to the appropriate storage location and retrieves frequently requested objects directly from local storage. This local retrieval usually reduces response time and eliminates the need to use long-distance lines and network bandwidth.

DWTE also provides both caching and filtering for content. Efficient caching algorithms with installation tuning and optimization capabilities permit the Web Cache Manager to achieve hit rates in excess of 50%. Additionally, DWTE supports content mediation functions such as Platform Independent Content Selection (PICS) filtering to enable administrators to control which items can be retrieved. PICS is a rules-based mechanism for specifying content selection.

In a separate announcement today, IBM unveiled a complementary caching solution called the Netfinity Web Server Accelerator. Available exclusively on IBM Netfinity servers, this solution provides Web site administrators - including ISPs - greater system performance and the ability to deliver up to 60% more page requests per minute** over competitive Intel processer-based servers. Although both caching solutions speed up the delivery of Web content, the Web Server Accelerator increases the speed of outgoing content (i.e. that which is leaving a Web site), while the Web Cache Manager accelerates the rate of incoming content (i.e. that which a user gathers). Combined, these two solutions work together to improve the overall speed of the Internet.

For more information on the IBM Web Cache Manager, visit the IBM Storage Systems Division Web site at The product will be demonstrated at ISPCon, San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, Calif., from Sept. 29-Oct. 2.

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*Trademark or registered trademark of IBM Storage Systems Division

^Seascape Enterprise Storage Architecture is the IBM blueprint for comprehensive storage solutions optimized for a connected world. The Seascape architecture outlines new concepts for storage by integrating leading technologies from IBM - including disk, tape, and optical media, powerful processors and rich software functionality - to provide highly reliable, scalable and versatile application-based storage solutions that support the range of servers from PCs to supercomputers.

** 60% performance result referenced in this document is the performance of Netfinity 7000M10 compared to the next best competitor

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