Tacit speeds up file transfers

Tacit Networks WAN appliances promise to improve the response times of file-sharing applications, making end users happier and staving off the need for fatter links between corporate facilities.

Tacit Networks' WAN appliances promise to improve the response times of file-sharing applications, making end users happier and staving off the need for fatter links between corporate facilities.

The company’s I-Shared devices are deployed in pairs at either end of WAN connections where they streamline the transfer of data and cache files in use to reduce the number of times files have to cross the WAN as they are being worked on.

One customer says the devices reduced the initial download time of 5M-byte CAD files in half, and once they were downloaded end users could work on the files in the I-Shared cache at LAN speed. “They’re not super-huge files, and it wasn’t really that long to wait, but if you have to do it 18 times per day, it adds up,” says Gregor Wells, IT manager for Albuquerque, N.M., architectural firm Dekker/Perich/Sabatini.

Vendors such as Expand, Peribit, Packeteer and others also speed traffic across WAN links, promising to improve performance by 90% or more in some cases. Tacit differs in that its gear is designed specifically for file-sharing and file-serving applications, says Charles Foley, president of Tacit.

Dekker/Perich/Sabatini looked into upgrading its T-1 connection between Albuquerque and Las Vegas to a T-3, but the cost - a jump from $1,500 per month to $8,000 per month - was too expensive, Wells says. The performance increase with the I-Shared appliances makes them worthwhile, he says. “The boxes themselves were pretty pricey, so we needed to see that type of return to justify them,” Wells says.

Tacit gear runs its own protocol - storage caching over IP (SCIP) - which is designed to operate more efficiently over TCP/IP networks than standard file-sharing protocols such as NFS and SIFS, Foley says. The data also is compressed using standard compression algorithms.

When users request files, they are sent using SCIP and cached on the local I-Shared device. The I-Shared appliance at the file server site keeps the file open while the remote user who requested it works on it. Users work on the cached copy. The local cache takes changes to the files, and when users close out, just the changes are sent over the WAN to synchronize with the file server.

I-Shared appliances are available now and are priced based on user licenses and cache size. An I-Shared with a 100G-byte cache ranges from $7,500 for 10 users to $37,500 for 300 users. A 300G-byte cache costs $5,000 extra, and a 700G-byte cache costs $5,000 more than that.

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