The deluge of WAN accelerators from Cisco, Riverbed, Juniper, Expand, Packeteer,Bluecoat, Silverpeak etc. etc. is proving good for datacenters. Not sure how many vendors will remain viable in a year or two, but the selection at the moment is decent.
However, most of the vendors don’t address remote desktop acceleration, say for people using 3G cards on their laptops or even cable modems – sometimes the routing to corporate networks can be arcane enough that the ms of latency add up, plus most home connections are asymmetrical anyway.
So, it would be pretty cool to have a WAN accelerator in your laptop, right? Well, so far only two companies have stepped forward:
The far more established product, even if you’ve never heard of it, is AcceleNet Enterprise from ICT (Intelligent Compression Technologies, www.ictcompress.com – they were recently bought by ViaSat). ICT has been doing just this for years, with a veritable who is who of clients (no they haven’t paid me to say this, I just think the stuff is cool). Lots of service providers use it.
ICT deploys a server that acts as a proxy, then you install an agent on your laptop. Transfers are compressed both ways.
The other vendor is known to us all – it’s Riverbed. They have now what’s called Steelhead Mobile. Effectively, it puts a Riverbed box inside your laptop. A normal Steelhead is needed to communicate with, as well as a Steelhead Mobile Controller for management. I saw pricing for the controller and it was a bit dear…
You can even adjust how much cache to give your mini-Riverbed, so if you have the space, go nuts.
Of course, you can also use this technology for servers and save money on appliance costs – I wonder if they have something that checks if you’ve installed it on a server OS, and how much CPU does it take to do it’s thing.
I heard somewhere Cisco is also working on something similar, unsurprisingly.