Certeon to Support Office and Exchange Traffic with WAN Acceleration Devices
Published: November 8, 2006
by Alex Woodie
Certeon, a manufacturer of WAN acceleration solutions that target Microsoft applications, this week announced the availability of new acceleration devices that support the latest Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office 2007, SharePoint Server, and Exchange Server 2007.
Certeon, like other providers of network acceleration devices, uses various byte-level pattern matching and caching techniques to accelerate the delivery of data across increasingly congested WANs. There are several vendors in this space that have developed various algorithms that can have a considerable impact resolving traditional WAN problems, including latency, bandwidth, packet loss, and contention.
Certeon, which only started selling its rack-mountable S-Series appliances in February, takes its technology a couple steps farther. First, it offers support for encrypted content, which generally is resistant to compression techniques. Its devices accomplish this little feat of magic by first decrypting the content before compressing it, re-encrypting it, and then putting it back into the pipe.
The other thing that helps separate Certeon is its support for the application layer, or Level 7 on the OSI model, through its "application acceleration blueprints." Basically, these blueprints work by telling the S-Series devices to look for specific file and object types when handling traffic from certain types of applications.
When the S-Series launched in February, Certeon offered support for Microsoft Office SharePoint and Oracle E-Business Suite 11i. This week, the company announced support for Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007, both of which are due to ship at the end of the month.
Certeon is able to support the new Open XML file formats that Microsoft is using with certain Office 2007 products, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, whereas other WAN acceleration device makers will not be able to, according to Gareth Taube, vice president of worldwide marketing. The reasoning has to do with the fact that new formats, .DOCX, .XLSX, and .PPTX, already have some level of compression built into them, and the directories and metadata tags Microsoft uses to keep track of changes would cause problems with traditional WAN acceleration devices.
"We did an experiment here where we took an Excel spreadsheet and made simple changes to the title, then compared the before and after. We found small differences," Taube says. "The changes cascade and the net result is it mitigates the majority of capability that a WAN acceleration device would have based on just pattern matching and packet compression. We have the capability to look inside and not worry about all those little pieces."
The new line of S-Series devices support all HTTP and HTTPS traffic, Microsoft Office and SharePoint applications, and Oracle's E-Business Suite. Support for Exchange Server 2007 will be delivered in January. Pricing for the S-Series devices (which must be installed in pairs) ranges from $6,000 to $35,000 each. For more information, see www.certeon.com.