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Senior Editor

Juniper’s take on WAFS acceleration

Apr 06, 20062 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Juniper details how its products can speed file transfers over WANs

Juniper is in a crowded market when it comes to wide-area file services products, but in a recent white paper, the vendor details how its products can speed file transfers and other traffic over wide-area nets.

WAFS technologies work to reduce the ‘chattiness’ of Microsoft’s Common Internet File System (CIFS) and the Unix/Linux File System (NFS). It does this by lessening the number of roundtrips required across the WAN when transferring data. Many vendors such as Expand Networks, Packeteer, Riverbed Technology and Tacit Networks provide these capabilities and a few specialize in this technology with appliances designed just for that purpose.

Juniper proposes coupling the WAFS capabilities with other WAN optimization and application acceleration technologies. The company says its WX and WXC appliances use a transparent approach – vs. that of a proxy server – to meet a handful of specific requirements.

To start, Juniper works to reduce the administration and management burden associated with remote servers, the white paper says. The company says a WAN optimization platform should not require customers to change clients or deploy new hardware that “requires administration similar to that for a server.” Secondly, being transparent, the Juniper appliances would not require any reconfiguration due in the case of an outage or a failure. And because it requires no changes be made to clients or other servers, there would be no need to reconfigure client or server machines.

Juniper says the transparent WAFS technology “should remain transparent to any changes in the CIFS protocol. That means the acceleration system would forward messages between clients and servers without altering the protocol exchange. The company also says that a transparent approach would not interfere with “direct communications” between the client and the server. For example, Juniper explains, caching data locally and then forwarding them can cause data consistency issues.