Akamai Technologies, Inc. has announced a new web acceleration service called Aqua Ion. Building on top of Akamai's dynamic web acceleration capabilities, Aqua Ion introduces an entirely new way to layer and intelligently apply a comprehensive set of optimizations, including front-end optimization (FEO), as well as third-party and mobile-specific enhancements.
These enhancements allow organizations to help optimize web experiences across a wide range of use cases, or situations. By improving performance intelligently according to the user's situation,
Akamai says Aqua Ion is designed to enable companies to meet the demands of situational performance created by the new way customers are experiencing the web.
A recent report by Forrester Consulting, "Shifting Performance Strategies for Mobile and Web Delivery," indicates that, "companies are struggling to keep up with rising expectations for web responsiveness, rich content, and support for mobile devices."1 In addition, the survey of more than 200 IT professionals on which the report findings were based highlights that, "most web teams underutilize services that can improve the performance of their web and mobile architectures. Instead, most web teams prefer to expand the capacity of their internal architectures."
For companies trying to reach customers and users via an increasing number of devices, browsers and networks, the problem of providing the optimal user experience becomes significantly more complicated. IT and development organizations can no longer rely on users accessing their sites from a relatively consistent environment and as such, should not focus their performance optimization strategies on a limited set of tools, techniques and approaches. Further, these optimizations must be architected to work together intelligently to minimize the risk associated with cobbling together individual point solutions that may jeopardize overall functionality.
Built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform, Aqua Ion is designed to help companies meet the performance challenges that are introduced as traditional web sites continue to transition into more complex, richer web experiences. Single web sites that could once be universally delivered to all users have evolved to highly personalized web experiences that have a specific set of characteristics associated with a particular user.
Beginning with Akamai's acceleration for dynamic sites, purposely built for scale, security and reliability and incorporates acceleration, connection, and routing optimizations unique to the platform, Aqua Ion introduces new network and device intelligence features to help address situational performance requirements. These intelligent performance optimizations are designed to match to the conditions presented by a user's particular combination of browser, device, network and content accessed.
To provide customers with the combination of technologies required to meet the challenges of situational performance, Aqua Ion includes a variety of key capabilities designed to improve the end-user experience.
Front-End Optimization (FEO) – Akamai's approach to FEO seeks to adaptively apply optimization techniques for each end user, based on sophisticated analysis of the web application as well as real-time conditions specific to the end-user's environment. These optimizations are designed to help reduce HTTP requests, reduce the required bytes delivered and accelerate page rendering. Uniquely, Akamai offers this capability as an "in network" optimization as a service that can work in conjunction with existing performance and intelligence optimizations being used.
Third Party Integration – Users demand richer experiences that utilize a combination of first- and third-party content and services that are assembled in real-time at the browser. Aqua Ion is designed to help mitigate performance issues that can occur in these situations. Asynchronous processing and execution deferral help prevent slow third-party code from spoiling the user experience.
Adaptive Image Compression – The ability to vary the level of image compression based on real-time network conditions allows pages to load much faster even when network conditions are poor. The result is an optimized and improved experience that is intelligently responsive to real-time network conditions and the user's situation.
Dynamic Page Caching – Situational performance includes the need to deliver performance based on user behavior. Aqua Ion includes configurable options available through the Akamai Luna Control Center that enables more granular and intelligent caching of dynamic and personalized content based on audience segmentation.
IPv6 Support – Aqua Ion includes the ability to dynamically adapt the IP connection to match and support the device making the request, designed to ensure that customers can continue delivering web sites using IPv6 without having to re-engineer the IPv4 infrastructure.
Akamai Instant – Many variables can affect how quickly – or how slowly – a user is presented with a page in response to an action taken in a browser. Akamai Instant can retrieve the next pages most likely to be requested, based on origin analytics, before the user selects it for viewing.