ZIFFPAGE TITLEWeb Pages, on the

By John Moore  |  Posted 2005-07-08 Print this article Print

The biotech equipment maker wanted to expand business in Japan. But faxing in hand-written orders was faster than using its online catalog. Something had to click.


Web Pages, on the Double

Millipore launched a trial of the Netli network in 2001 and put the technology into production the following year. The company installed two Netli appliances for redundancy purposes. The appliances reside in the same racks as the company's Web servers.

Once activated, the Netli network boosted Millipore's page performance and cut transaction times. Average page performance improved from 7 seconds-plus to 1.7 seconds; and the average transaction took less than 2 minutes instead of 4 minutes.

"The overall transaction time was dramatically improved and fell well below our target," O'Halloran says. Millipore experienced those results in about a day and a half, as the network changes went into effect and users were, in O'Halloran's words, "directed back over the Netli pipes."

Customer complaints evaporated. O'Halloran traveled to Japan and visited several distributor customers. "We did some testing from their offices ... and we found that [Millipore.com] was performing as well as and sometimes even better than some of the local Japanese company sites," he notes.

Since the Netli deployment, Japan has become Millipore's fastest-growing region for e-commerce. "We have been able to demonstrate significant performance improvements over the old method of handwriting purchase orders and faxing them in," O'Halloran says. Millipore has layered additional distributor perks on top of the e-commerce service, including guaranteed next-day shipping.

Netli offers its service on a subscription basis. Customers typically pay between $8,000 and $15,000 a month for Netli's services. According to O'Halloran, the network service has proved to be significantly less expensive than a Web hosting infrastructure build-out and associated staffing requirements.

A Web server and firewall, alone, would have generated startup costs in the tens of thousands of dollars. The total cost of ownership for the Japanese e-commerce site could have reached beyond $200,000 annually, say industry sources.

O'Halloran cites limited maintenance issues with Netli, which remotely administers Millipore's two appliances. Glitches are infrequent and handled rapidly. About a year ago, Netli detected a problem with one of the boxes and shipped Millipore a new one, O'Halloran says.

According to Jupiter's Peterson, the options Millipore considered are typical of companies looking to boost Web performance in a new geography. Organizations, he says, can build out infrastructure, co-locate, pursue caching, or select an application distribution service along the lines of Netli or Akamai.

Jeffrey Cohen, president of ImageWorks , a Vernon, Conn., Web design firm, says companies hitting performance issues should also consider the Web server, which may lack the processing punch to deliver the desired results.

Nielsen agrees: "The real problem is, how fast is the server at creating the pages?"

John writes the Contract Watch column and his own column for the Channel Insider.

John has covered the information-technology industry for 15 years, focusing on government issues, systems integrators, resellers and channel activities. Prior to working with Channel Insider, he was an editor at Smart Partner, and a department editor at Federal Computer Week, a newspaper covering federal information technology. At Federal Computer Week, John covered federal contractors and compiled the publication's annual ranking of the market's top 25 integrators. John also was a senior editor in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Computer Systems News.


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