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Senior Editor

Compression explored

Jun 17, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsUtilities

* Paper delves into benefits of compression, and why it’s not being used

Compression clearly helps with bandwidth consumption and response time when applied appropriately to application traffic. Or so says a research paper published this month, which tracks the history of compression and discusses how enterprise IT managers can put it to use today.

Lynn Nye, president and founder of APM (for “application performance management”) Advisors, a market research firm in Portland, Ore., this month drills down into compression technologies in his report “A Look at Data Compression.” He explains how compression has been used for a long time, but how it can really be put to use today to save “up to 70% of bandwidth” used by companies.

Yet research shows that only about 25% of sites randomly checked are using compression. Nye asks why, and provides some insight:

Awareness: “Many organizations are not aware that compression is an inherent part of the browser,” Nye writes. He says the efficiencies gained through compression are not always obvious to IT managers.

Ownership: He also says that it’s often unclear which IT group is responsible for deploying compression. The application development team delivers apps to the production environment, but the network group manages bandwidth.

Scalability: According to Nye, with the introduction of HTTP compression, “many Web servers and software add-ons provided host-based compression, but the processing overhead diminished the value proposition.”

Availability: Vendors were slow to add compression technology to their server load balancing (SLB) products, where compression is best put to use, Nye writes.

Despite the challenges, the benefits of compression cannot be ignored, and vendors now provide the technology in a variety of ways. In this paper, Nye details the options available from NetScaler and its recently introduced AppCompress technology.

Nye explains that NetScaler, with its appliance and ActiveX component, can compress any IP application data for any user. He says the company uses its technology to instrument the infrastructure, compress data to anyone, anywhere, and consolidate functionality.

“Combining SSL acceleration, SSL VPN, TCP optimization, SLB, compression and application layer attack defense, provides the breadth of services required for application delivery,” Nye writes.