Akamai has launched a new service aimed at providing IT managers with a way of improving the way that applications are delivered over the web. The company has launched Configuration Manager, a software tool designed to allow IT managers the opportunity to enhance performance so that applications can be delivered over the web at similar rates to a private IP network.

"More and more companies are looking to use the general Internet, where once they would have used a private WAN," said Neil Cohen. Akamai's director of product marketing. "The problem that they've faced is that the Internet is not so good at delivering applications; what we wanted to do was make the Internet behave as if it was a private WAN."

Cohen said that there were two problems to crack: the quality of the Internet connection and improving the delivery of applications. He said that they sounded like two similar applications but they weren't. "Think of it like buying a new engine for the car. There's little point in buying a brand-new, high-performance engine if you're then stuck in a traffic jam."

There's a parallel with virtualisation said Cohen. "Both offer ways in which resources can be harnessed to improve delivery and both look at ways to make the most of existing resources."

Configuration Manager has been bundled with Akamai's Applications Accelerator, at no extra cost, and offers IT managers a series of drop-down menus to fill in details of the corporate set-up - these could include factors such as security settings on firewalls, the number of global offices, applications being delivered and so on. Cohen claimed that applications could be delivered to users in half the time that they are currently being delivered.

Cohen said that one of the key areas for the product would be on software such as Oracle, SAP or Sharepoint - applications that require a great deal of user interactivity, are business critical, but which can be resource heavy. He said that the software would also be important for companies looking to move to an SaaS business model. "You can't manage cloud computing without managing the cloud," said Cohen.