"WorldLingo has seen the future of the Web -- and it's not in English. While the vast majority of commercial Web sites today are in English, a surprisingly large number of Internet users-perhaps as many as 50%, according to some observers -- don't speak English. And that number is growing. By 2004, according to research firm Global Reach, only a third of Internet users will speak English.
To succeed in this electronic Tower of Babel, businesses will need instant translations of foreign-language email. Fremont, Calif.,-based WorldLingo is aiming to meet this need, by combining the brain-power of humans and computers in a unique approach to online translation. The company uses its automated translation systems to provide a rough translation of foreign language email. Along with the translation comes a quote for a more exact translation, done by one of WorldLingo's human translators.
The service is proving popular with large Web portals and ecommerce sites. But to handle the translation demands of these large customers, WorldLingo had to be prepared to scale its computers rapidly."Our traffic can go in peaks and valleys, and we have to be able to cater to the peaks," says WorldLingo CEO Phil Scanlan. "But more importantly, a new customer can add very significant volumes to our traffic, and we need to be able to respond to that very quickly."
WorldLingo found the answer to this challenge, says Scanlan, in Turbolinux Cluster Server 6. The company runs its business on three clusters, all using Dell PowerEdge 2450 computers running Turbolinux. One cluster hosts WorldLingo.com's Apache Web servers, another the company's application servers, and the third is home to the servers that do the actual translations.
WorldLingo found that Cluster Server 6 gave it the flexibility it needed to handle a rapid boom in its business with minimum trouble. Each time his company adds a large Internet portal or major ecommerce site as a customer, says Scanlan, it may have to add 30 or 40 machines. Cluster Server makes that easy. "When we get a new customer," he says, "we just plug in more machines. We don't have to change any programming code."
As a startup, cost was a big consideration in WorldLingo's technology decisions. WorldLingo briefly considered going with servers from some of the big Unix vendors, but wanted the cost advantage of using off the-shelf PCs. With Cluster Server, says Scanlan, "it's not only fast for us to increase the capacity, it's also very affordable." Another selling point for WorldLingo.com was the operating system. "Cluster Server is based on Linux," Scanlan says, "so it's' stable technology. We know we can trust it."
For WorldLingo, Cluster Server 6 takes much of the headache out of running the system on a day-to-day basis. "It takes care of managing the nodes, divides up the jobs between them, and handles all the load balancing," Scanlan says. "That makes our lives much easier."
"We wanted a system that could handle high volume, and that would scale easily and affordably," says Scanlan. "Turbolinux Cluster Server 6 gives us just what we were looking for."