Box launches Accelerator to speed up content delivery

Think of Box's Accelerator network as a baby content delivery network for international businesses. The biggest difference between Accelerator and a CDN is that no data is actually stored at an end point.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Box has built a data transfer network dubbed Accelerator for business customers in a move to share content faster around the world.

In many respects, Accelerator appears to be a content delivery network. The biggest difference between Accelerator and a CDN is that no data is actually stored at an end point.

"It's like a baby CDN," explained Sam Schillace, vice president of engineering at Box. "Accelerator is like a CDN in that it moves nodes to the edge and optimizes, but it's not caching data like a CDN. There's no user data held at the nodes."

Box built Accelerator in roughly 8- to 10 weeks with the aim of allowing international customers---50 percent of usage for the company---to upload documents and content faster. Box's Accelerator network utilizes a combination of company-owned servers and virtual ones via Amazon Web Services.

The majority of Accelerator nodes are Box's physical servers, said Schillace. Box is currently serving more than 125,000 businesses and 11 million users. Forty percent of usage on Box is mobile.

Here's the footprint of the nine-location network, which will expand going forward.



As noted, Box's Accelerator network is geared toward business and enterprise users. The company has a patent pending for its intelligent routing network behind Accelerator.

Among the key points:

  • Box has nine international upload locations to speed up service in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America.
  • Accelerator's technology aims to deliver encrypted content faster by analyzing location, OS and browsers to optimize speed.
  • The system continually figures out the fastest delivery mechanism.
  • Box claims that its Accelerator network, which is delivered free of charge, delivers 66 percent faster speeds than rivals and averages uploads t 7MB per second. Box is increasingly competing with typical players like Dropbox as well as established enterprise players such as VMware. In addition, Salesforce is planning a Chatterbox service that will apparently compete with Box on some level.



One notable point about Accelerator is that it may not improve mobile content collaboration and delivery. Users would notice Accelerator improvements on a tablet over Wi-Fi. However, networks such as 3G and LTE have different architectures and wouldn't benefit as much.

"We would need to think of something else for mobile, but path optimization will help but not as much," said Schillace.

Separately, Box said that it has named David Quantrell general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Quantrell had been president of EMEA of McAfee, now a unit of Intel.

Related: Box rolls out Windows Phone app, bolsters Qualcomm ties

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