Sarvega accelerates XML processing

FRAMINGHAM (12/15/2003) - Web services start-up Sarvega Inc. has released an XML network traffic-acceleration device that integrates security and content-aware routing onto a blade that fits a standard PCI chassis and is compatible with IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. blade architectures.

The company last week unveiled XRE 200, which will give corporate users a range of options for deploying hardware that will help process and manage XML-based messages. XML message can use about 80 percent of server power when processed using application server software.

Blades let companies stack more server equipment into a smaller space than taken up by traditional servers. Also, the blades in a chassis can share services over the chassis's backplane.

The rise of XML-aware hardware is not surprising, considering that many CPU-intensive tasks have been moved from software to dedicated hardware, including routing, load balancing and encryption/ decryption.

Competitors such as Conformative Systems Inc. and Intel Corp. spin-off Tarari Inc. offer other designs, most notably PCI cards that can plug into servers, appliances or network devices.

The XRE blade is identical in features and functions to Sarvega's XPE 2000 appliance.

"We expect to see a lot more vendors using these alternative models," says Ron Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink Inc. "XML acceleration has to happen close to the application server. If the blade is in the same chassis, it takes over the processing."

Other vendors that offer dedicated acceleration hardware include DataPower Technology Inc., Forum Systems Inc., Reactivity Inc. and Westbridge Technology Inc.

DataPower this week will introduce Version 2.5 of firmware for its XS40 XML Security Gateway and XA35 XML Accelerator. The firmware includes support for the Security Assertion Markup Language; integration with access management software from Sun and Netegrity; and a technology called DataGlue, which can convert XML messages to binary text for systems such as mainframes. Company officials would not say if they were developing a blade.

Sarvega's XRE 200 features Gigabit Ethernet throughput and performs Extensible Stylesheet Language transformation and XML parsing, validation and compression. The blade performs authorization, authentication, auditing and serves as a firewall. It also supports load balancing and traffic control and is compatible with Layer 7 devices.

The XRE 200 blade is priced at US$20,000.

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