January 22, 2001, 7:59 PM — REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA -- What's good for the Web server is good for the directory in the eyes of Ipedo, a developer of content delivery and acceleration software.
Just as caching devices have rescued Web servers from becoming bottlenecks on the Internet, Ipedo believes caches can help boost performance for directories as they begin to grow in importance.
To support the concept, the firm recently released Directory Cache, an appliance that speeds access to data in directories compliant with the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. Those include IBM Corp. SecureWay, IPlanet Directory Server and Novell Inc. eDirectory. A version for Microsoft Corp.'s Active Directory is under development.
Company officials say the cache, which sits in front of a directory, increases by 10 times the rate of access to directory information.
Technologies such as Directory Cache could be a key development for directories, which are finally becoming a center point for network functions such as user management, access controls for Web applications, bandwidth and security.
"There is no doubt the directory will become a high-traffic area that has to be accessible to a number of devices," says Tere' Bracco, an analyst with Current Analysis. "Once people understand the expanded uses for directory services, you see how often the directory will get hit."
But Bracco says the downside of Directory Cache is that it is yet another network appliance to be deployed. "It's a great idea, but people will ask 'Why do I need a separate device?'"
Bracco says large companies that already understand the importance of directories are likely candidates for the software, but Ipedo also is targeting service providers. Those include business-to-business exchanges and application and wireless service providers that offer personalized content and applications, and service-level agreements controlled by a directory.
The Java-based Directory Cache features Ipedo's ActiveEdge caching, which moves data closer to the applications that need it. The cache stores directory data in memory, providing quick access and relieving the strain of waves of directory requests for security credentials or user information.
Directory Cache can be configured so multiple caches can store redundant information from a master directory for high availability. Directory data also can be divided among multiple caches to boost performance. The cache also supports Directory Services Markup Language (DSML), which allows directory data to be represented in XML. DSML is designed to promote directory interoperability for e-commerce.
"We built this software to work completely in memory," says Tim Matthews, president and co-founder of Ipedo. "The cache also is smart enough to have load-balancing and redirection capabilities."
Directory Cache runs on Windows NT and 2000, Sun Solaris and Red Hat Linux servers.