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NAS wide area accelerators are gaining traction on Wall Street, where they are undergoing extensive testing, reports Taneja. These products are appliances that speed up the TCP/IP connection between remote NAS storage and the main data center. The University of New Hampshire has established an interoperability lab for storage, and NAS accelerators from Actona Technologies and Tacit Knowledge Systems Inc. have achieved impressive results there, Taneja adds.
NAS accelerators work by effectively taking TCP/IP out of the WAN picture as far as storage goes. They terminate the TCP/IP connection locally and insert their own protocol, effectively removing TCP/IP's error checking and latency. Additionally, the appliance may use techniques such as difference recognition, local read/write, read-ahead capabilities, data streaming and compression to speed the transmission, all of which makes the remote NAS storage perform as if it were on the local LAN. The savings in reduced WAN costs and remote storage management can be considerable.
In addition to Tacit and Actona, many vendors are working on approaches to WAN acceleration. Vendors include DiskSites Inc., Expand Networks, NetCelera, NetScaler Inc., Network Executive Software, Orbital Data Corp., Packeteer Inc., Peribit Networks and Riverbed Technology. Some of these companies are just out of stealth mode, and are searching for their next venture capital funding,
How hot: warming up.
Risk factor: Many different approaches and immature companies may make choosing chancy.
Buy or pass: If you maintain file storage at many remote sites, seriously research these products and technologies.
This was first published in October 2004