Los Gatos, CALIF. — Two experienced and successful Web site developers, Jack Smith and Richard Burright, have joined forces to co-found Akamba Corporation, a company focused on solving Web server performance problems. Akamba addresses the mismatch between the explosive growth of traffic on Web sites and the inability of most sites’ outdated infrastructure to keep up with the demand. The company has plans to release a family of products based on its patent-pending MassTrans Technology, an innovative system architecture that increases the performance of existing Web servers.
Jack Smith, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Akamba, and Richard Burright, who is president, have front-line knowledge of the problems that often accompany a Web site’s success. After designing chips at Firepower, Smith co-founded Hotmail Corporation in July 1996, when he had the “wild” idea of providing free e-mail via the Web and developed the technology to do it. In its first 18 months of operation, Hotmail registered more than 12 million users. By 1998, the successful startup had registered 40 million users and captured the attention of Microsoft Corporation, who acquired Hotmail for $400 million. Following the acquisition, Smith became director of engineering for Microsoft, where he helped develop another popular Web venue, the Microsoft Network (MSN).
Burright previously worked in the portable computer division at Apple Computer. Burright was Hotmail’s first employee and he worked with Smith to develop Hotmail’s highly scalable system from the ground up. He continued to manage the day-to-day operation of the site through its grueling growth curve until the Microsoft acquisition.
“We understand the challenges facing data center and network operators,” explained Smith. “We’ve been in the trenches and know firsthand that traditional performance and capacity enhancements just don’t work. We saw the urgent need for a solution, and we set out to provide one that would improve performance and multiply capacity without requiring investment in additional servers.”
Akamba solutions are based on our patent-pending MassTrans technology. MassTrans technology removes the connection-processing burden from servers by streamlining the handling of application protocols and by employing specialized packet-processing engines to optimize network protocol processing for the Web client/server exchange. This innovative technology effectively transforms each user connection into a high-performance local connection to the server. MassTrans technology increases the effective capacity of each server, taking maximum advantage of each server’s CPU processing power, and delivers a consistently high quality experience to every connected user, even under sustained heavy user traffic loads. MassTrans technology interoperates seamlessly with key network and server technologies and standards.
At the heart of the performance problems experienced by high-traffic Web sites is the fact that today’s Internet sites are built on a foundation of general-purpose computers. These general-purpose computers, dedicated to managing the delivery of data to users, were never designed to handle the concurrent connections demanded by popular Web sites. In order to increase capacity, e-businesses, ISPs, and other network operators have had to invest in more servers, more server memory, or even expensive standalone devices. However, these additional resources cannot guarantee long-term increased capacity or end user satisfaction. Zona Research estimates that some $4 billion in potential e-commerce revenue was lost in 1999 as a result of poor Web site performance, despite prodigious growth in server sales and processing power.
Akamba’s founders have learned from their own experience that more servers, CPUs and memory do not guarantee protection against network brownouts or against end user dissatisfaction. Akamba’s solutions deliver consistently positive experiences to end users – even in the face of unpredictable network growth.
Akamba’s first product release is the Velobahn accelerator, a high-performance accelerator specifically designed to extend the capabilities of Web servers. The Velobahn accelerator employs MassTrans technology to offload tasks from the host system associated with client/server connections, which enables the server to handle more HTTP requests. Utilizing a pioneering system architecture that combines special-purpose embedded software with custom-designed application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), the Velobahn accelerator overcomes the performance bottleneck of traditional servers and offers greater headroom for peak load handling. Benchmark testing indicates that the Velobahn accelerator multiplies the potential number of concurrent connections per machine by as much as four times under heavy network load conditions.
Akamba Corporation develops Internet infrastructure products that redefine expectations for busy Internet sites. Akamba’s solutions transform data centers by addressing the heart of server performance issues. The solutions are based on Akamba’s innovative MassTrans Technology that serves the needs of today and scales into tomorrow. Co-founded by Jack Smith and Richard Burright, Akamba is funded by August Capital and Mill Valley Partners, as well as key individual investors. More information is available from Akamba at http://www.akamba.com .