Friday, 7 January 2011
This blog is dedicated to Jack – the animated face(hero?) of Riverbed WAN Optimisation Technology. Jack has a way of simplifying complex technical issues, such as the bandwidth vs latency debate, so that even the least technically minded person in the workplace will appreciate the benefits of WAN Optimisation.
He certainly makes our job at Layer47 easier, bonus!
Let’s look at a common scenario and a snapshot of a modern enterprise. You have workers and offices, out and about, all over the place and the WAN network is bound to experience considerable data congestion as a result. When an organisation’s Wide Area Network is running slow, file transfers can take forever, office and remote workers get frustrated and project deadlines are missed. Furthermore the Network Manager most often takes the brunt of co-workers complaints and moans regarding sluggish access.
So what is the solution? A common misconception is that increasing your bandwidth will make applications and the network in general run faster. ‘Bigger pipes are always better’ as some would say. But that isn’t always the case, adding more bandwidth does not necessarily improve the end performance of an application over the WAN.
You can have lots of bandwidth but still experience slow applications, and why is that I hear you ask? :)
One reason is latency. The performance profile of many applications is defined by the latency of the connection. Adding more bandwidth will help with the concurrency of the connection but will not improve latency.
This is because most protocols have an element of serialization meaning that they require a response to a packet of data before they can send the next one. Each application will be running back and forth getting bits of information. Combine the number of round trips that some ultra “chatty Applications” such as CIFS make, with high latency between remote offices and you can have a problem on your hands, regardless of available bandwidth.
So if you, like Jack, have got issues like bandwidth limitation, poor TCP performance and application protocol chattiness, what are you going to do about it?
Riverbed WAN Acceleration Technology to the rescue!
A WAN accelerator can help to overcome the pesky effects of latency by reducing the amount of data transmitted over the network using low level compression and caching.
It is a great solution for organisations that wish to:
- Accelerate end user experience over the WAN
- Optimise WAN bandwidth utilisation
- Enable IT consolidation
- Accelerate backup, recovery and replication
- Accelerate mobile workers
- Improve productivity whilst cutting IT costs
However if all this is too much of a technical overload, why not check out Jack’s much more simplified explanation here: