Citrix tackles WAN optimisation, application acceleration

Citrix yesterday unveiled WAN optimisation tools and an enhanced Web application delivery system at Interop New York. Both are said to speed applications over the network.

Coming fresh off its acquisition last month of OrbitalData, Citrix Systems today announced its new series of WAN optimisation tools, saying that they can accelerate application delivery over the WAN as much as 300 times.

At Interop New York today, Citrix detailed its Citrix WANScaler 8000 Series, vaulting the vendor further into the bustling and crowded WAN optimisation market.

The WAN optimisation market has been experiencing solid growth over the past few years. Gartner Inc. said it expects the WAN optimisation market to double by 2009, to more than $1.2 billion, and estimated that 55% of all employees worldwide will access their applications from branch offices.

WAN optimisation tools such as WANScaler are important to network managers because they greatly decrease the time it takes files and applications to travel between headquarters and branch offices without the expense of increased bandwidth. Speedier transmission over the WAN also often translates to higher productivity and fewer hang-ups with slow applications.

According to Greg Smith, director of product marketing in Citrix's application networking group, WANScaler 8000 uses multi-level compression technology to boost application response time to branch offices over the WAN, while also reducing the need for often-costly bandwidth upgrades. The WANScaler series incorporates a new compression algorithm capable of compressing data at a 3,500 to 1 ratio. Smith said that the multi-level compression allows the appliance to select the best compression scheme for specific applications, data flows and network bandwidths.

In addition, the WANScaler 8000 Series adjusts among disk, level-two cache and memory-based compression and can support hundreds of branch offices, thousands of connections, and WAN throughput levels greater than 500 Mbps. Using those capabilities, a T-1 WAN link can support the equivalent of a Gigabit of application traffic while also improving the performance of applications to end users.

Added disk space can save more data for longer periods of time, Smith said, meaning that a file coming from headquarters to a branch can be saved at the branch. When the end user requests the document, a token is sent across the WAN notifying the branch office appliance to push the file to the user.

Other acceleration techniques include TCP flow control, service class policies, and application-specific optimisation for protocols such as CIFS and HTTP. The AutoOptimizer engine applies each acceleration technique to speed application WAN traffic, including client-service applications, Web applications, file sharing and bulk transfer applications, and IP-based applications such as voice and video.

The 8000 Series features the WANScaler 8500 for medium and large branch offices, and the WANScaler 8800 for enterprise data centers.

Jimmy Chang, product marketing manager of Citrix's application networking group, said WANScaler reduces the need for networking pros to pay massive amounts of money to update the WAN, while also reducing the number of complaints the application team receives about slow app performance.

Along with the WANScaler updates, Citrix today announced the latest version of its Web application delivery appliance, NetScaler 7.0.

Built on the company's existing, Web-specific NetScaler line, version 7.0 features new capabilities for Web application delivery, such as application scalability, more powerful application policy management, improved application availability, expanded application security, enhanced ease of configuration and management, simplified SSL security management, and support for new application types.


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