Riverbed & Juniper Push WAN Acceleration Ahead

WAN acceleration is getting a lot of attention, because
enterprises are more than ever faced with the problem of sharing
applications and backup operations across disparate locations. This
week, many vendors will addressing that issue as they pitch their
WAN acceleration wares at the Interop show in New York.

And two of the biggest vendors will promise even faster
acceleration for an even wider range of network traffic.

Riverbed’s Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) version 4.1
further accelerates the company’s acceleration capabilities for
enterprise applications.

Apurva Dave, director of product marketing at Riverbed, told
InternetNews.com that RiOS uses a Linux kernel as a base and
then Riverbed hardens it and adds network acceleration optimization
features on top.

Riverbed’s latest release focuses specifically on optimizing
disaster-recovery traffic. Dave said enterprises use Riverbed
technology in tandem with their backup infrastructure technology in
order to expedite both the time it takes to mirror data and to
recover it in the event of a disaster.

“Our technology can recognize the difference between your
standard file, e-mail and Web traffic you might be accelerating and
identify what would be a heavy-load, data replication backup job,”
Dave explained. “Based on that intelligent recognition of traffic,
we can modify the way we use our data reduction and compression in
order to get better performance.”

Riverbed’s new release also offers the promise of better
acceleration for users of Oracle 11i database.

“When you load a browser and go to an Oracle URL in order to
access the application, it loads a Web plug-in called Jinitiator
and all the data requests go through it,” Dave said. “Riverbed now
intercepts that traffic, unscrambles it and optimizes it.”

Juniper Networks also bent on optimization this week with WX
software version 5.5, which focuses on accelerating SSL (
define
)-encrypted traffic.

“We have always been able to accelerate SSL traffic, but the
reality is without fully understanding SSL, the benefits were
minimal; you might have got 5 to 15 percent improvement,” Tim
Richards, senior product manager of WAN acceleration at Juniper,
told InternetNews.com.

“But to really get the big bang in terms of acceleration levels
of 20 times performance improvement, you really need to understand
SSL and be able to decrypt it and take a look at the payload in
order to get the real benefits.”

And that’s where Juniper’s AppFlow for SSL fills a gap. The
product is supposed to provide full acceleration of SSL-encrypted
traffic across the WAN. Richards also noted that Juniper will tie
in the SSL-encrypted traffic to its IDS/IPS (Intrusion
Detection/Prevention System) in order to ensure that the traffic
complies with network policy.

Juniper is also taking aim at accelerating traffic for
Microsoft’s Windows Vista clients. One of the reasons network
acceleration is necessary in the first place is because Windows
typically has had a lot of extra noise in its protocols that could
slow traffic.

In Vista, Microsoft has optimized its CIFS (common Internet file
system) (
define
), as well as its core TCP (
define
) stack. Juniper, in turn, is now providing new
optimizations that further build on what Microsoft has already
improved in Vista.

Riverbed’s Dave said the company has not released any detailed
plans, but he did say that the opportunity for acceleration is
massive and that Riverbed’s focus is on making things happen.

In contrast, Juniper Network does have a roadmap for its
acceleration platform that will include the acceleration technology
as a module on Juniper’s
SSG modular router line
.

Juniper’s Richards argued that accelerating application
performance across the WAN isn’t always about pure WAN
acceleration. “We’ve found that we can drive greater performance
through the WAN than the LAN infrastructure can deal with,”
Richards said.

“We think that the broader Juniper portfolio of high-performance
networking is a specific and strategic strength. We not only
deliver on WAN acceleration, but if they have problems in other
areas of the network we can work with them on those.”

Article courtesy of internetnews.com

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