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Inktomi Launches Traffic Server - 11/1997

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SAN MATEO, Calif., Oct. 27, 1997 — Inktomi Corp. today unveiled the industry’s first large-scale commercial network cache designed to reduce massive congestion over the Internet and increase overall network efficiency. Called Traffic Server, the software solution is the only product available today that is built to scale beyond a terabyte of data, making it the world’s highest performance and most scalable network cache. In an audited performance test, Traffic Server was shown to deliver bandwidth savings equivalent to more than three T3 lines or 135 megabits per second, translating to an estimated savings of over $1.8 million a year for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), backbone carriers and telecommunications companies.

Today’s announcement follows alliances that Inktomi has recently forged with Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Intel made an equity investment in Inktomi and will collaborate on the porting of Traffic Server to the Intel architecture, and Microsoft will use Inktomi’s search engine technology to power the Internet search functions for Microsoft’s online properties. In addition, Inktomi has a marketing and sales relationship with Sun Microsystems®, Inc. for the Traffic Server product, and recently collaborated with Sun on conducting the first ever large-scale audited network cache benchmark.

Inktomi’s Traffic Server solution is currently being evaluated at UUNet, the country’s largest backbone provider; Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in Japan, the world’s largest telecommunications company; and OzEmail, Australia’s largest ISP.

"The high number of Internet users and the constant insatiable demand for Internet data is causing bandwidth capacity to triple every year, leading to unimaginable congestion over the Internet," said David Peterschmidt, CEO and president of Inktomi Corp. "Today, we believe that up to 80 percent of data traffic on the Internet is redundant. Traffic Server is designed to reduce this data redundancy by 40-50 percent, resulting in faster user response times and significant savings for our customers."

"Inktomi's Traffic Server is a leading technology for scalable network infrastructure needs," said Akihiro Takagi, executive manager for the multimedia business department of NTT. "We have been evaluating Inktomi's Traffic Server product as a beta tester and are considering adopting it as one of the enabling technologies for a newly announced NTT project that involves the deployment of highly advanced broadband and multimedia services to our customers across Japan."

According to International Data Corp., based in Framingham, Mass., the Internet had approximately 28 million users in 1996 and that number is expected to grow to 175 million users by the year 2001. This growth in users results in an increased amount of data travelling across the network backbone, causing bandwidth constraints and weak network performance. The Traffic Server software reduces this data congestion by eliminating redundant data traffic throughout the network infrastructure and storing information in multiple locations close to users. Currently, when a user in San Francisco accesses a site in London, they travel the entire length of the network backbone to retrieve data from the server in London. If other users in San Francisco want to access the same page in London, they make a similar trip resulting in increased strain on the backbone. With Traffic Server, once the user accesses information from London, the data is stored locally in San Francisco, reducing the time for subsequent access and alleviating the load on the network.

Traffic Server Product Features

Inktomi’s Traffic Server software is designed from the ground up to address the challenges of large-scale network inefficiencies, enabling global carriers to significantly lower their network build-out costs and greatly reduce costly international telecommunications charges.

  • Performance: Traffic Server’s underlying architecture makes it the highest performance network cache in the marketplace. In the joint benchmark test conducted by Sun and Inktomi and audited by Performance Metrics of Rancho Cordova, Calif., Traffic Server’s performance tests simulated real-world conditions of the Internet backbone. Running on a 16-node cluster cache configuration, the product achieved 3,400 operations per second at a 40 percent cache hit rate (where 40 percent of the data resides in the cache and the remaining data is sourced from origin servers). This translates into an ability to service more than 300 million hits per day, the highest capacity ever proven by a commercially available network cache.
  • Scalability: Unlike current products on the market today, Traffic Server is the only cache developed to scale beyond a terabyte of data. This level of scalability is comparable to holding 1,000 online versions of the Encyclopedia Britannica which is 33,000 pages long with print and graphics. Traffic Server’s scalability enables customers to incrementally expand their cache as they need, and serve millions of users without losing network performance or efficiency. In the Sun-Inktomi benchmark test, Traffic Server scaled to 16 nodes and was configured for 1/2 terabyte of cache, a level no other caching product has ever achieved.
  • System Management: Traffic Server is designed to be easily configured and monitored by network administrators. The product offers a graphical control panel, called the "dashboard," that gives administrators a single point of control. Extensive facilities for monitoring and tuning performance are also provided.
  • Fault Tolerance: Based on coupled cluster technology, Traffic Server is designed to offer a high degree of fault tolerance. If any node within a cluster fails, Traffic Server automatically and transparently reassigns the load among the remaining nodes, ensuring that the network is always running and user data requests are constantly processed.

Pricing and Availability

Inktomi’s Traffic Server product runs on the Sun Solaris platform and is available immediately. Traffic Server is expected to be available for the Intel architecture in 1998. Pricing starts at $19,995 per CPU.