• United States
by Steve Taylor and Joanie Wexler

Compression and traffic shaping put to the test, Part 1

Dec 09, 20032 mins

* How applications-aware devices can significantly enhance WAN performance

In the past couple of newsletters, we’ve focused on two applications-oriented topics: compression and traffic shaping.  This week, we’re moving to some real-world results that show why the “communications people” and the “applications people” can no longer be separated.  In particular, as more and more products are introduced in the generic category of “applications oriented processors,” specialty applications-aware devices can provide significant enhancements to WAN performance.

The first report is from an extensive battery of tests that eb-Qual, a networking tools vendor in Switzerland, was commissioned to perform for a global biotechnical company.  Even though the report focuses on the results of a test of one application (Lotus iNotes) running on a particular vendor’s equipment (Redline Networks), the overall story is clear: From a generic perspective, application performance enhancing processors can improve response time and conserve network bandwidth.

This particular test was designed to test two performance metrics in particular.  First, since the Redline equipment handles the Secure Sockets Layer processing for secure transactions, SSL capacity and response time were tested.  Second, the test was designed to quantify changes in the real-world response time and bandwidth utilization.

Overall, the test delivered four major results, according to the testers.  First, the SSL capacity was greatly improved.  The server load was increased by 500%, and even at this greater load, the response time was more than 60% faster.  Second, since the processor was responsible for front-line security, the testers noted an enhanced level of security by offloading the SSL processing to a separate system.

Due to the compression inherent in the product, the testers also noted an improvement in application response time of between 60% and 70%.  And because of this compression, the actual bandwidth utilized was decreased.

For the techie details of the test, please see the link below.  Next time we’ll look at the results of another test.