Startup FastSoft Prepares App Accelerator

FastSoft's appliance speeds up the transfer of large files across TCP/IP.

A new startup is moving to elbow its way into the competitive WAN optimization and application acceleration market with a new technique for speeding the transfer of very large files across TCP/IP.

FastSoft will address the lag time in transmitting large files using industry-standard FTP with its new Aria appliance. It is an asymmetric device that requires no companion appliance or software client at the other end of the connection.

The companys FastTCP technique, originally developed at the California Institute of Technology, boosts performance by addressing latency issues associated with TCP, which was developed over 20 years ago.

"TCP worked for 300 baud modems and e-mail. But today it can be crippling. Our core technology senses congestion on the network, rather than [the packet] lossiness of the network, and then it sends packets at an optimal rate to minimize loss and maximize throughput," explained Dan Henderson, vice president of product and market development for FastSoft, in Monrovia, Calif.

The technology optimizes the file transmission at the transport layer, operating on a time scale of tens to hundreds of milliseconds. Although routers can change the paths they use when links fail or are heavily congested, they change much more slowly, Henderson said.

The algorithm implemented in the Aria appliance senses congestion by continuously measuring the round-trip time for the TCP acknowledgement and then monitoring how that measurement changes from moment to moment.

/zimages/3/28571.gifVendors are in a racing to meet the demand for WAN optimization and application acceleration. Click here to read more.

Beta testers at The Post Group, a film post-production facility in Hollywood, Calif., found that the Aria delivered 15 to 20 times faster transmissions "and better overall client happiness," said CIO Darin Harris.

Most WAN optimization products require an appliance or client software at each end of the connection in order to boost performance, but the Aria addresses that issue.

"We looked for a long time to speed up FTP transfers, but we cant install at box at the client site," Harris said. But the Aria appliance, "being one-to-many, transparent to the user and inline with our servers, is amazing," he said.

But industry analyst Rob Whiteley at the Forrester Group said he believes that FastSofts approach represents a more traditional traffic management approach. "The true bang for the buck involves caching, and that involves two ends of the connection," he said.

The Aria is designed primarily to optimize large file transmissions "over long distances through large pipes," Henderson said.

The Aria 2000, which is due in July, supports 1G-bps links. Existing Aria appliances support 10M-bps links, 50M-bps links and 200M-bps links.

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