Application Acceleration Gets Checkered Flag for Performance

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2005-07-25

As interest in the technology continues to heat up, application acceleration/WAN optimization vendors are launching new wares that boost performance, deliver new encryption capabilities and expand the range of applications that can be improved.

Swan Labs Corp. and Riverbed Technology Inc. are among the remaining independent players in a $960 million annual market, which has garnered attention due to high-profile acquisitions earlier this year by Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc.

Swan Labs, of San Jose, Calif., for its part, redesigned its WANJet software to speed remote data transfer five to 500 times. A new Session Matrix Architecture marries Layer 3 and Layer 4 protocol acceleration technology with Layer 7 application acceleration technologies, enabling improved performance, according to Swan officials.

Using a technique called transparent data reduction, WANJet appliances at either end of the connection observe data transfers and store data at the block level. The appliances create a dictionary associated with the data transfer on either side of the remote link, and, when a client makes a request for a second pass of the data, it is served up from a local client.

Because the technique is based on repeating patterns, it is applicable to all types of applications, all protocols and all data types. It works with compressed and encrypted data, officials said.

Click here to read more about Riverbeds update to Steelhead.

The support for encryption turned out to be a key feature for users at CitiStreet LLC, in North Quincy, Mass., in its daily batch replication of large data volumes between data centers in Massachusetts and Florida, according to CIO Barry Strasnick.

"Most WAN compression products dont work with encrypted data. We insist on full encryption of [sensitive customer data] for transmissions such as these. Swan provides the capability for us to offload both the encryption and compression from our large HP-UX computers to the Swan devices. [The result was] better transmission throughput and reduced host CPU cycles," Strasnick said.

Riverbed Technology has added IP Security encryption to Version 2.0 of its Steelhead product line of application accelerators, which emphasizes wide-ranging protocol support.

Both Swan and Riverbed support high-speed links as fast as OC-12 (622M bps). Riverbed in its Steelhead 5010 appliance added high-speed TCP optimization for applications such as FTP traversing large WAN pipes such as OC-12.

The San Francisco-based company also added the ability to accelerate applications that use Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server as a back-end database.

Steelhead 2.0 will be available by the end of the week. Swans new WANJet software is available now.

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