Less talk, more video. That's the pitch from BitGravity, a content-delivery network startup that says it has invented a less loquacious way of distributing high-quality multimedia content online.
According to CEO Perry Wu, the company is able to provide virtually instantaneous response times and at least three times the throughput of competing delivery networks. “We think we'll enable a whole new set of applications on the Internet,” Wu said.
BitGravity says it uses a content-routing algorithm that is less “chatty” than the ones used by other content-delivery networks, such as Akamai Technologies and Limelight Networks. Instead of requiring several round trips between a client and the network to determine the optimal server for delivering content, the BitGravity technology quickly identifies the requested material on its servers and starts streaming the content.
“Most of the industry throws hardware at the CDNs [content-delivery networks],” Wu said. “We are a technology-oriented company.”
Key to the BitGravity approach is that — instead of a network of thousands of distributed servers, a la Akamai — its network uses “more like a dozen” Internet-node clusters, Wu said. Each node comprises large-scale server systems built on Intel-based hardware: “We store 100% of the content, in fewer places.”
Asked to comment on BitGravity's purported performance advantage, Akamai spokeswoman Jennifer Donovan said, “It's hard for us to comment on a broad claim” without knowing the specific performance metrics BitGravity is basing its claims on.
According to Wu, BitGravity is in discussions with VSNL International, a tier-one global network provider based in Singapore, to provide Internet connectivity around the globe for the service. Lining up such a deal is key, Wu said, because it will let BitGravity “own the system end-to-end” and provide cost advantages.
“We take storage, processing and bandwidth, and we optimize them,” he said.
Wu, who previously was a partner with venture-capital firm ComVentures and worked at Accel Partners and Bedrock Capital, would not disclose the amount of funding BitGravity has raised. He said investors in the company, founded in early 2006, include himself and other “angel” investors.
He also was cagey on BitGravity's headcount, saying only that it has fewer than 100 employees.
The company claims to be profitable, with more than 50 customers, including Sling Media, Revision3 and PumpAudio. Wu said BitGravity offers the content-delivery network service in North America and Europe, and will soon add Asia.