February 18, 2003 10:07 AM PST
Start-up accelerates XML Web services
Cambridge, Mass.-based DataPower is one of a handful of companies building devices to accelerate the processing needed
How to deal with XML
DataPower's hardware serves as dedicated device to offload data-intensive processing chores and speed up overall application performance. The company's two products address Web services security and XML processing, or converting XML document formats to allow exchange of data between applications.
Rather than invest in specialized devices, data center operators would typically invest in other hardware products such as load balancers, servers or networking gear to overcome a slowdown in application performance from securing and processing XML-based Web services, Schmelzer said.
Teleconferencing service provider LeaderPhone has invested in DataPower's XA35 devices to improve performance of its Web-based teleconferencing application. LeaderPhone developed its application so that people using a range of devices, from Palm handhelds and BlackBerry pagers to desktop PCs, can access the service. The company reformats application data using XML-based Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT), according to Jeff Lamb, LeaderPhone's chief technology officer.
The company had found that application performance was lagging because of XML transformations and security processing. Instead of buying more servers, the company decided to purchase two of the XA35 devices, which cost about $35,000 each.
"The way we looked it, we would have had to buy 100 servers and invest in a huge server farm to do the (data) transformations," said Lamb. "Now I think we can pull it off with four servers at the application level and one or two XA35 boxes."
Lamb said the investment provided a clear return on investment, particularly because LeaderPhone's application did not need significant modification to work with the DataPower hardware. The application now takes one-twelfth the time needed earlier to render the data for different devices, Lamb said.
The second version of DataPower's XA35 speeds up encryption processing that uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) standard. The upgrade can also compress XML documents and work in conjunction with Gigabit Ethernet networking hardware to improve performance.