Expand Bolsters Network Acceleration Devices
September 4, 2007 Alex Woodie
Expand Networks last week launched four new network acceleration devices designed to boost the available bandwidth between data centers and branch offices. The new devices deliver better support for wide area file services (WAFS), smarter acceleration of TCP traffic, and dynamic bandwidth throttling.
Expand launched two acceleration devices intended for smaller branch offices, the 4830 and 4930, and two devices for larger regional offices, the 6830 and 6930. For each pair, Expand offers one device that includes a hard disk–which is necessary to support Windows WAFS services over a network, but which also introduces a security liability–and one device that functions without a hard disk. The 4930 and the 6930 contain the hard drives and, therefore, support the WAFS feature that turns the Expand device into a local file server, thereby improving response times for local Windows users.
The biggest enhancement with the new devices is the increase in the number of concurrent optimized TCP sessions that the devices can now support. Because every user has, on average, 10 to 30 TCP sessions open at any given time, boosting the number of supported TCP sessions–to 64,000 for the 4830 and 4930 and 128,000 for the 6830 and 6930–increases the total number of users using modern Web-based collaborative applications supported by the devices, Expand says.
The new dynamic bandwidth adjustment feature should also provide a boost to overall throughput, Expand says. This feature, which is a function of its recently released Compass version 6.1 software, employs a “real-time feedback mechanism” to automatically adjust the amount of bandwidth it doles out to the WAN. This feature should be especially important in situations employing multiple satellite links and high-volume data replication for the purposes of disaster recovery.
Expand has also worked on its WAFS implementation in the new devices. With its new “transparent” WAFS, Windows clients that have already been mapped to the central file server can be optimized by Expand’s devices without the need for remapping.
The 4830 and 4930 include 1 GB of memory, support WAN speeds from 1 Mbps to 6 Mbps, and up to 200 WAFS users (on the 4830). The 6830 and 6930 include 2 GB of memory, support WAN speeds from 2 Mbps to 15 Mbps, and up to 500 WAFS users (on the 6830). For more information, visit www.expand.com.