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Inktomi Unveils Smart Network Strategy - 04/1997

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Berkeley, Calif. - April 14, 1997 - Inktomi Corporation, the network infrastructure software company, today announced its strategy for addressing network overload on the Internet and corporate intranets. The company's strategy largely revolves around the development of Traffic Servers, network management software solutions designed to better and more intelligently manage network data flow for domestic and international ISPs, network backbone providers and the enterprise market.

Extending its clustering technology that has been used in search engines around the globe, Inktomi plans to form strategic partnerships to bring the Traffic Servers to market.

"It's much less expensive to store data than it is to move it," said David Peterschmidt, Inktomi president and CEO. "We're taking our cost-effective, highly scalable architecture and extending it to network infrastructure applications that will reduce latency and increase access to global information on a much greater scale."

Over the last three years, Inktomi has developed and delivered high-performance clustering and data management technologies that have been put to the test in large-scale Internet search engines. These include the HotBot search site, which supports thousands of simultaneous users and over 50 million Web documents. Inktomi has also developed region-specific search sites with OzEmail in Australia/New Zealand and NTT in Japan. By leveraging these proven core technologies, the company is addressing the performance and scalability needs of the broader network infrastructure market.

"Traffic Servers represent another innovative and compelling application of Inktomi's clustering technology" said Ted Julian, Internet research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC). "As with Internet search, scalability will be a crucial differentiator amongst network cache products. Indeed, large scale network traffic control is a key way organizations can cope with ever-increasing network traffic."

Smart Networking Solutions

Inktomi's Traffic Servers, available the second half of this year, are designed to reduce network traffic by supporting cache sizes up to one terabyte. Inktomi's unique network cache design easily links (or couples) together servers to form a virtual network cache. Such a design can easily and cost-effectively be upgraded as the number of users and the amounts of data moving across a network grow.

"Current networking solutions are faulty in two regards: they send the same data repeatedly, and they send more data than the receiver can use at a given time," said Eric Brewer, Inktomi chief technology officer.

Traffic servers will allow networks to become "smarter" by addressing established and future overload issues. Typical network servers frequently send information to users across dedicated pipelines, often delivering redundant and unnecessary data in an inefficient manner.

Smart networks, on the other hand, leverage traffic management servers to send data once and avoid sending the same information repetitively. Furthermore, these traffic servers, also called network caches, are strategically located within the network infrastructure to ensure that the data is stored as close as possible to the user, minimizing user access time and overall network traffic.

"Caching isn't new to the Internet - all leading browsers store the most frequently viewed pages in a temporary file for fast, easy retrieval on your desktop," said Brewer. "Inktomi is extending caching into the network infrastructure to alleviate today's infamous bandwidth overload and build a platform for future growth."

The Network Cache - Key Ingredients for Success

Unlike workgroup-level Internet caches available today, Inktomi's Traffic Servers will scale to serve large numbers of users and large amounts of data. The company will leverage its proven clustering technology and networks of commodity workstations to maintain speeds faster than that of the network and easily and quickly scale as the network grows.

ISPs and corporate intranets leveraging Intkomi's intelligent networks will enjoy better quality of service, lowered use of bandwidth capacity, decreased marginal costs, and more profitable operations, overall. Smart networks employing Inktomi's caching software can expand capacity by dramatically optimizing the use of existing bandwidth, instead of increasing physical bandwidth through costly hardware investments. Furthermore, each of these users will enjoy better performance because of the traffic server's proximity and speed.

"By applying its clustering technology to network cache solutions, Inktomi is validating the 'network is the computer' concept at a time when the market opportunities are tremendous," said Edward J. Zander, president, Sun Microsystems Computer Company, a subsidiary of Sun Microsystems, Inc. "A smarter network and an efficient use of more scalable hardware would offer companies, ISPs and users a much higher performance, longer-life platform for Internet information management."

For international partners, Inktomi's network cache solution offers an intelligent network with faster access to transoceanic content, reducing the cost and slow performance of international transmissions. The net result is increased performance and lower costs.

Sales Strategy

In the search engine market, Inktomi leverages its strategic partners to deliver products designed to meet regional search customer needs. Similarly, Inktomi will forge partnerships with leading networking hardware providers and value added-resellers to satisfy the network cache demands of ISPs, telecommunications companies, and Global 2000 corporate customers. Inktomi will leverage its partners' established sales, marketing and support organizations to ensure enterprise-class service.

In related news, Inktomi recently announced the formation of its Technology Advisory Board, which consists of industry-recognized experts from Sun Microsystems, Microsoft and the University of California at Berkeley. The Board's mission is to validate technology directions and decisions consistent with Inktomi's vision of making networks smarter.