• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry


Aug 26, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* The Reviewmeister checks out a dedicated network compression device from BoostWorks

The Reviewmeister was looking for squeeze the proverbial 10 pounds of data into the proverbial 5-pound connection in order to save some bucks.

So we checked out a bunch of dedicated network compression devices. These boxes all significantly compress the packet payload. In fact, in our FTP testing, we achieved as much as a 400% performance gain.

Of course, your mileage may vary, depending on the traffic types and flows on your network.

Let’s start with the box from BoostWorks. All products that we tested except BoostWorks attempt to compress all network traffic, unless a setup parameter has exempted a particular type of traffic or traffic from a particular address.

The BoostWorks product attempts to compress only particular types of traffic, such as HTTP, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol or specific application transactions. Its designers are banking on the assumption that most enterprise traffic falls into one of the targeted patterns.

Where the other systems in our tests are designed to compress traffic moving between segments of enterprise networks, making the most of large leased data connections, BoostWorks also can work on a more common data connection – between the server and remote client.

Rather than creating tunnels between appliances, BoostWorks’ BoostEdge system can be deployed using one appliance together with a software client on the remote system. In this configuration, the BoostEdge is a unidirectional system, compressing FTP, HTTP, SMTP and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) traffic sent from the server. The system also can be deployed without a software client, but in this mode only HTTP traffic is compressed.

By focusing on specific traffic types, BoostWorks achieved solid results, posting the second highest results we saw in transferring a large, uncompressed file via FTP. Getting to these results was simple with the BoostWorks system – taking the system out of the box to have it yield functional acceleration took only a matter of minutes. The client loaded easily onto a laptop system and operated essentially invisibly. The FTP test was the only test we could complete because of the nature of the system.

Depending on the model, the BoostEdge can support up to 80,000 established connections and an input bandwidth of 42M bit/sec.

BoostWorks has a Web-based management interface that provides statistics on traffic and compression, and a mechanism for device setup, although BoostWorks’ system requires less in the way of configuration than systems that depend on dedicated tunnels between endpoint devices.

BoostWorks doesn’t support quality-of-service functions, although QoS is promised in future releases after the company’s acquisition of StreamCore.

If a company is concerned about maximizing productivity of remote workers and reducing total bandwidth from, for example, an intranet Web server, BoostWorks is the only product we tested that takes network acceleration on the road. There are more complete systems for accelerating links between major network segments, but in its niche, BoostWorks stands alone. For the full report, go to