Roundup: What's new in traffic management

* Traffic management vendors enhance appliances

WAN traffic-management appliance makers Allot Communications, Expand Networks, Packeteer and Sitara are enhancing their products.

By "WAN traffic management," we're talking about products that help you improve application performance over bandwidth-constrained, packet-switched WAN access links and the often, unpredictable converged WAN backbone itself. Making each traffic flow "behave" is important in converged networks, where one type of untamed traffic could negatively impact the performance of another type.

Here's a summary of this week's activity:

* Allot 

The company announced Version 5.1 of its high-end NetEnforcer appliance software. Version 5.1 provides greater visibility into the network with 100 additional graphs for slicing and dicing real-time and historical information by user, protocol, and application.

The new software version also offers simpler configuration of network policies.

For example, a network administrator viewing a monitoring screen and discovering undesirable traffic behavior can right-click on a protocol and set or reconfigure a policy, says Oded Nahum, senior system engineer.

Allot also updated its protocol-recognition support for the latest versions of streaming and peer-to-peer protocols, including several instant-messaging protocols. NetEnforcer, with 1G-bit/sec throughput, is most often used in large organizations, such as service provider companies, universities, and some large enterprises.

* Expand

Focused on branch offices, the company this week announced a modular architecture for its Accelerator appliances. It also announced three new Accelerator models and Linux-based Accelerator Server software that allows Accelerator capabilities to run on a general-purpose server or server blade.

The company's heritage is to improve WAN performance using compression, achieved by removing redundant information and inefficiencies in network traffic. So its approach to accelerating application performance is to apply the most appropriate compression algorithms using application-specific compression plug-ins. Packeteer is reportedly poised to offer a similar capability.

Expand offers compression plug-ins for HTTP, HTTPS, DNS, TCP and FTP traffic. Expand handles encrypted HTTPS transactions by moving encryption from a Web server to the Expand device, says Pedro Colaco, vice president of marketing.

The new Expand architecture also performs application-specific acceleration by caching transactions locally, "so you don't have 20 users typing 'mySAP' and getting translated into IP addresses [across the WAN]," Colaco says.

Note that at the upcoming NetWorld+Interop conference and exhibition, May 9-14 in Las Vegas, these and other traffic management companies will participate in the "Performance Pavilion" to demonstrate their products and provide short technical presentations.

Next time: What Packeteer and Sitara are up to.

Learn more about this topic

"Traffic Management: Or What QoS Isn't," APM Advisors, March 2004

Allot Communications' "Traffic Management Handbook" registration

Compression device handles 1,500 remote sites

LandAmerica gets WAN visibility from Packeteer

Network World Network Optimization Newsletter, 02/17/04

N+I show details

Cisco to revamp IOS software

Network World, 04/19/04

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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