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Prime Strategy - Kusanagi booth

Executive Interview – Prime Strategy is Now Targeting the North American Market

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Prime Strategy - Kusanagi booth

Chieko Aihara, Executive Director of Prime Strategy’s Planning and Development Department.
“KUSANAGI Stack, a technology developed by us, improves both page rendering and response times, optimizing upstream and downstream speeds,” said Chieko Aihara, Executive Director of Prime Strategy’s Planning and Development Department.

Prime Strategy, a company from Japan, has recently unfold its plan to enter the North American market with their website acceleration solution, KUSANAGI Stack. HostingJournalist sat down with Chieko Aihara, Executive Director of Prime Strategy’s Planning and Development Department, to learn more about the company’s mission, licensing business, products, and services.

“Our web acceleration solution, ‘KUSANAGI Stack’ is made of ultra-fast virtual machine ‘KUSANAGI’, ‘WEXAL Page Speed Technology’, and strategic AI ‘David’, said Chieko Aihara. “Since 2021, we’ve been focusing on venturing into the licensing business, particularly for shared hosting server providers. As of now, we’re also eyeing the North American market.”

Why would North American service providers be interested in your KUSANAGI Stack web acceleration platform?

“Google’s search rankings place emphasis on Core Web Vitals, making it essential to enhance page rendering and response times. KUSANAGI Stack, a technology developed by us, improves both these aspects, optimizing upstream and downstream speeds.”

You’re mentioning this ultra-fast virtual machine, KUSANAGI, as part of the web acceleration stack. Could you elaborate on its specifics?

“KUSANAGI is a finely-tuned virtual machine with ultra-fast speed and it is designed for use in public cloud and VPS hosting environments. It is a Linux-based tuned server OS (Virual Machine Image) that runs WordPress and other CMS fast and securely. It optimizes pages by improving both upstream and downstream speeds. KUSANAGI can operate under high loads when there is a heavy traffic to a website without a significant loss of performance. For instance, our in-house testing showed that rendering speed with KUSANAGI 9 was around 2,330 times faster than LAMP and approximately 20 times faster when page cache is not used. What makes KUSANAGI unique is that it speeds up without using a cache. Because there is no need to scale up, the expenses associated with cloud computing may be lowered.”

And what exactly does the product WEXAL bring us?

“WEXAL Page Speed Technology is an acceleration engine for web systems. It improves Core Web Vitals and PageSpeed Insight scores and enhances UX (user experience). Optimization of resources not only speeds up display but also reduces the amount of data transferred.”

This web acceleration platform is completed by ‘David’?

“The strategic AI ‘David’ generates web acceleration strategies for ‘WEXAL Page Speed Technology’ in real time. It automates advanced display acceleration tuning, which was previously performed by engineers, and significantly reduces operational costs related to acceleration.”

Could you tell us a bit more about the speed improvements this product stack offers?

“Our Premium Edition of KUSANAGI includes WEXAL Page Speed Technology and Strategic AI ‘David’. These are advanced tools designed for website performance enhancement. While KUSANAGI focuses on speeding up servers and applications, WEXAL specifically targets rendering acceleration within the browser. Think of WEXAL as an ‘acceleration engine’ tailored for web systems. It doesn’t just boost speed, but it also notably improves Core Web Vitals and PageSpeed Insight scores, ultimately uplifting the overall user experience.”

“WEXAL handles source code from HTTP server, image compression, and browser rendering, while David devises optimization strategy for each page. The improvement in speed is considerable.”

“A key feature of WEXAL is its ability to compress resources like images, JavaScript, and CSS, ensuring they’re delivered in the most efficient and lightweight format. On the other hand, Strategic AI ‘David’ is crafted to generate bespoke optimization strategies for individual web pages. KUSANAGI Stack can accelerate all steps of web display, including HTTP requests from browsers, dynamic processing on the server, HTTP responses, and rendering. Together, they offer a comprehensive solution for web speed enhancements.”

Can you provide more details about the platforms where KUSANAGI is available, its deployment, the components it includes, and the variations it offers?

“As of May 2023, KUSANAGI is available in 34 countries and 209 regions, on 31 major platforms internationally – on 31 platforms, including Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and AWS. More than 70,000 deployments have been made as of February 2023. Linux, HTTP servers (NGINX, Apache), programming languages (PHP, Ruby), relational databases (MariaDB, PostgreSQL), and CMS software (WordPress) are some of the software elements that are part of it. KUSANAGI 8 (Linux with CentOS 7) and KUSANAGI 9 (Linux with CentOS Stream 8, AlmaLinux OS 8) are the most recent versions, both of which come in Free Edition, Business Edition, and Premium Edition variations.”

How easy is it for users to get started using KUSANAGI?

“Quite easy, actually. Users just need to select KUSANAGI from the from the marketplace of each cloud platform  when creating a new virtual machine. There’s no need to separately install Linux, middleware, or applications. Additionally, our specialist engineers can provide advice and assistance, if needed. All that users have to do to create a new virtual machine is choosing KUSANAGI from the marketplace. Linux, middleware, and applications don’t need to be installed individually.”

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Could you describe who usually handles the process of setting up KUSANAGI, and what costs are associated with it?

“It is typical for the user company’s IT team to do such tasks, however a systems integrator might also be given the job. Users of the premium edition of KUSANAGI must also pay a subscription (monthly or yearly fee) to the provider of the public cloud or VPS in addition to the cost of the virtual machine.”

What led to the adoption of KUSANAGI webpage acceleration technology by shared hosting providers in Japan?

“Competition among rental servers is intense, and businesses are always seeking differentiation. We received multiple requests to improve rendering and response performance, leading to the inception of the KUSANAGI Stack technology licensing business. Technical collaboration with Xserver and later licensing to GMO Internet Group resulted in a broad implementation of our technology. I believe that speeding up website loading times and optimizing for Google’s Core Web Vitals to improve user experience (UX) are common needs worldwide.”

What are Prime Strategy’s plans for intellectual property business development overseas?

“Following our success in Japan, we’re looking to expand overseas, with our initial target being North America, which hosts the world’s largest number of data centers. Prime Strategy recognizes the universal demand for enhancing website loading times and optimizing based on Google’s Core Web Vitals to provide a superior user experience (UX). This isn’t merely a Japanese concern. The intense competition seen among hosting services and the push for differentiation is a shared global challenge.”

“What sets us apart are the proprietary technologies of WEXAL and David. Both are at the forefront of international patent applications. WEXAL, a pioneering speed optimization engine, possesses the versatility to integrate seamlessly with diverse platforms, including hosting servers, CDNs, and SaaS solutions.”

“Our successful implementations, notably with the GMO Internet Group in Japan, serve as testament to our capabilities. GMO’s utilization of WEXAL stands as a beacon of our potential.” [ed., WEXAL License Case Study: https://www.prime-strategy.co.jp/en/licensing-offer/wexal-license-gmo-internet-group/]

“Our vision is clear: We aim to empower hosting services, CDNs, and SaaS providers globally to adopt our acceleration solutions, giving them a distinctive edge in a saturated market. We’re keen on fostering widespread recognition for our product and forging strategic partnerships with platform providers. As part of our strategic roadmap, we’re setting our sights on expanding our licensing business, starting with the North American market.”

It seems like licensing can also be applied to SaaS, such as e-commerce platform and CDN. Can you share your thoughts on that?

“Yes, indeed. Licensing involves the provision of technology, which can be applied to SaaS. Our product WEXAL is a versatile engine that can be provided in various forms. Our mission is to use our technology to solve problems faced by platform operators and assist in their future growth.”

To learn more about the KUSANAGI Stack web acceleration offering, visit Prime Strategy’s website here.

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