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Clear Choice Roundup: How we tested WAN environments

May 08, 20062 mins
Cisco SystemsNetworkingProgramming Languages

6 Cisco- and Juniper-routed Fast Ethernet subnets were used.

We tested WAN environments using six Cisco- and Juniper-routed Fast Ethernet subnets linked via frame relay, T-1, T-3 and OC-3 connections.

Our test environment consisted of six Cisco– and Juniper-routed Fast Ethernet subnets linked via frame relay, T-1, T-3 and OC-3 connections. The frame relay links had committed information rates of 56Kbps (bursting up to 128Kbps), 256Kbps (bursting up to 384Kbps), 768Kbps (bursting up to 1.544Mbps) and 1.544Mbps with no bursting.

Our client and server platforms included Windows NT/XP/98/2000/2003, Unix (AIX), Red Hat Linux and Macintosh OS X. Relational databases on the network were Oracle 8i, Sybase Adaptive Server and Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Windows Server shared files, while Internet Information Server, Netscape and Apache software served up Web pages. An Agilent Advisor protocol analyzer decoded network traffic.

Our tests confronted the WAN-optimization tools with several kinds of network traffic, singly and in various mixtures. The network traffic types included file-sharing protocols, FTP, Web pages, Web Services Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) transactions, relational database transactions, backup/restore material, e-mail and vertical-market business-application transactions.

In each test, we used a range of latencies to simulate a variety of situations, from high bandwith to low bandwidth and high latency to low latency. Each series of tests simulated a specific business-oriented IT operation or set of operations.

We tested FTP transfers, with each transferred file a slightly changed version of the previous test’s file. We performed backups and restores of a relational database that experienced a day’s worth of transactions and updates. We shared program files and data files, and we tested with Web traffic, Web Services (SOAP/XML) traffic, database-transaction traffic and e-mail traffic.

We evaluated for fast performance, support for any and all protocols (including streaming video, routing-table updates and even music-sharing protocols), ease of use, scalability, good documentation and trouble-free installation.