One of the key trends in IT continues to be the consolidation of servers, storage and data from branch offices into central data centers. The benefits for this consolidation are clear: simplified IT management; increased data compliance and control; and reduced hardware, software and management costs.
However, centralization can create application performance challenges. Legacy file-sharing protocols such as
Tip 1: Upgrade your applications, protocols and performance
Most enterprise applications have transitioned to using Web technologies for delivery. For example: Document management systems such as Microsoft SharePoint, Documentum, Jive and Google Docs all transport over HTTP and SSL. Recent versions of Microsoft Exchange and Outlook have also moved from Messaging Application Program Interface (MAPI) to HTTP. Consider upgrading to current versions of your enterprise applications that use these more efficient Web protocols. Such upgrades will result in reduced WAN consumption and satisfied end users.
Tip 2: Think about priority
WAN optimizers can shape traffic and ensure that an organization has control over how its limited WAN bandwidth is used. This can mean guaranteeing that some applications (or devices, or users) get bandwidth, or it can mean limiting the bandwidth things get. Using them for file protocol optimization for legacy applications that rely on additional bandwidth can result in enormous performance improvements.
Tip 3: Speed up file transfers with compression, caching and prefetching
One of the key capabilities of optimizers is the ability to prefetch data. Optimizers understand when a file transfer is taking place, and they can prefetch part of or the entire file over the WAN to the remote optimizer as quickly as possible. Protocol communications at the remote end destined for a server in the data center are intercepted by the remote optimizer, which generates the appropriate response so that much of the chattiness of the protocol never touches the WAN. The remote optimizer delivers locally the file that the protocol is trying to transfer.
More on file protocol optimization
How can IT pros improve file transfer methods?
Seven essential requirements for selecting reliable file transfer solutions
Riverbed enhances WAN optimization for EMC SRDF
Optimizers also have the ability to reduce the amount of data being transferred by using caching and compression techniques. Optimizers intelligently store data in caches and compare files that are being transferred with what is available in their cache at a byte or block level. This means that any data that has already been sent -- even as part of a completely different file -- does not need to be present. In some cases, this can lead to as much as a 95% reduction in WAN traffic.
By using WAN optimizers, organizations can extend their investments in legacy applications and file systems and still reap the rewards of centralization. Organizations that have yet to centralize all branch applications and file servers should consider how these three file protocol optimization tips can enable centralization.
This was first published in November 2012