Loudcloud, CacheFlow enhance hosting performance

BOSTON -- Managed-services provider Loudcloud Inc. on Wednesday said it's partnering with CacheFlow Inc. to offer corporations a caching option designed to improve the delivery of content from Web sites.

Loudcloud is calling the offering the Caching Cloud service. Companies that choose the managed-service offering will receive a service-level agreement along with the necessary software, hardware and services to implement a project, said Scott Dunlap, Loudcloud's vice president of marketing. The hardware includes CacheFlow's cIQ Server Accelerator 700 Series, a content delivery server designed to address the traffic issues of a specific Web site. Both Loudcloud and CacheFlow are based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

CacheFlow's server accelerator off-loads some of the content delivery tasks normally handled by a Web server, said Mark Kraynak, the company's director of strategic marketing. The server accelerator can serve from five to 10 times more content than the Web server, he said.

Pricing for the Caching Cloud service is based on a per-CPU basis. A typical customer may pay $100,000 per month for the entire Loudcloud outsourced Internet package and can install it as part of a pre-existing data center contract or with one of Loudcloud's data center partners like AT&T Corp. or Exodus Communications Inc., Dunlap said. The package could include Caching Cloud, for which Loudcloud hasn't yet established a stand-alone price. The monthly pricing may be attractive to companies that are easing into the market and seeing their bandwidth increase over time, he added.

Customers could also implement CacheFlow's cIQ Server Accelerator themselves. The starting price for the CacheFlow cIQ Server Accelerator 700 Series is $9,995, Kraynak said. It comes down to a philosophical decision as to whether a company wants to go with a managed-service provider like Loudcloud or do a project in-house with its own IT staff, said Dunlap.

Implementation of the Caching Cloud service could take between eight and 12 weeks to complete, Dunlap said. It may take only a few days to add greater caching capacity to an existing Loudcloud customer's setup, he said.

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