The application delivery controller market continues to gobble up the fledgling Web application optimization industry. Radware acquired Strangeloop Networks, becoming the latest application delivery controller vendor to add or acquire the technology.
Riverbed Technology acquired Web application optimization vendor Aptimize last year and integrated the company's product into its Stingray application delivery controller (ADC) line. Citrix Systems formerly had a strong relationship with Aptimize, and had plans to acquire the company before Riverbed swooped in, said Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. F5 Networks introduced a proxy for the Google SPDY protocol, which gave F5's ADC products similar capabilities.
Web application optimization (also known as Web content optimization) is a category of technology that accelerates the delivery of HTML-based applications and websites to browsers and devices. The technology has become increasingly important to ecommerce sites, but also to enterprises that rely on Web-based enterprise applications like Microsoft SharePoint. Many of these applications are coded in such a way that their delivery to browsers is inefficient and hogs bandwidth.
"A lot of the development tools like .NET or Microsoft Visual Basic or any of the other rich Internet development environments, shield the developer from the messy work of actually hand-coding pages," Skorupa said. "We do this in the name of productivity. The problem is, these development tools generate wretchedly bad code. It's never going to get fixed, so the industry needs to give us something that in real time can manipulate things to make them work better."
Strangeloop has focused on optimizing delivery of webpages to multiple browsers and operating systems, and has won over clients in the ecommerce world, Skorupa said. Riverbed's Aptimize technology, on the other hand, focuses more on enterprise applications like SharePoint.
Consolidation of Web application optimization onto ADCs should reduce complexity for companies that have been deploying multiple boxes side by side.
"There is a strong desire to reduce complexity," said Joshua Bixby, the Strangeloop founder and president who will stay on as a Radware executive. "We were walking into enterprises that already own Radware devices and making the pitch to add a new vendor relationship and a new device. We felt the ADC is the place where this type of technology should reside."
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