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Keep remote offices in sync

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WAFS appliances
WAFS appliances are available in three forms:

  • An integrated hardware and software appliance
  • Software loaded on a standard, off-the-shelf server
  • A blade on an Ethernet switch
Of these options, the majority of appliances ship as pre-packaged hardware and software. Only Tenafly, NJ-based DiskSites Inc. gives users some choice as to the type of server hardware on which to host its FilePort and FileController software. Cisco Systems Inc. gives users the option to host its WAFS 3.0 software on an integrated software/hardware appliance or a router blade. Regardless of the appliance approach, the key advantages appliances offer over software include:
  • No agents to deploy
  • Operating system agnostic
  • Works with any vendor's NAS appliances
  • Removes most responsibility for data management from the remote office
  • Stores all files in the central office data center
  • Allows organizations to introduce new functions beyond WAFS

While all appliances deliver protocol optimization and some replication features, not all appliances work with file systems, an important consideration for a WAFS implementation. Juniper Networks Inc., Network Executive (NetEx) Software and Orbital Data Corp. offer protocol optimization and replication in their respective WX, HyperIP and TotalTransport products. Each

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product complements existing file- server replication and synchronization approaches by eliminating or reducing the network overhead created by the chattiness of the CIFS protocol.

WAFS pros and cons

This was first published in October 2005

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