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Looking for a device to compress 'on the fly' data

I was thinking about compression and encryption and wondering if anyone has developed a device that will compress information "on the fly" so that it could be sent over a network in real time using less network resources, particularly bandwidth and throughput. I was thinking of something along the lines of a PCI card or some type of external device perhaps. Does such a device exist already?

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There has been a lot of work done on compression but I don't know what products, if any, are available as PCI cards.

Architecturally, this would have to be done at an application layer, above the transport layer. This makes it more difficult to put in a card. Device drivers would have to force their way just above the network device drivers (and for storage, below volume manager or virtualization code).

Finally, both senders and receivers would have to use it. If it's on a card, then every system would need to use the same cards and who wants to buy cards like THAT? But, if it's not on a card, then where is it anyway? It's not likely to be wire speed.

This is one of those things that sounds simple at first but is pretty blasted complicated without a strong market requirement for it. As it is, most end nodes can't use 1Gb or 2Gb of bandwidth so there is little benefit to compression.

The situation for encryption is different.

Regards,
Marc

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This was first published in July 2003

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