Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On Citrix Wanscaler and WAAS and Wah Wah Wah.

I posted this blog entry on September 27th prior to attending Citrix iForum. I thought I would pop it back up to the top of my blog because the Wanscaler, in my opinion was one of the most exciting new things to come out of iForum . Mark Templeton even highlighted and live demo'd the device in his keynote showing the speed of copying folders across a wide area. (actually a continent away from Australia even!) The speed difference was staggering with and without! I handed every person within Citrix who had anything to do with wanscaler my business card begging to get a demo of the device for our Library system. Still no joy as of this writing, Ive not been contacted by anyone yet. :{ (*I am starting to think it was all smoke and mirrors Mark. Other than the one in the iForum Materials we have yet to see an actual picture of the device. LOL) Cmon guys I've been begging to get ahold of one for over a month and a half now....

Careful Citrix, I now hear rumors that Cisco is releasing a card to go along with their WAAS version of this technology that will plug right into their routers in January instead of putting an inline device in place. Sounds pretty compelling and as you can see from above..they do have a picture of the device. Seeing is believing. : )

Below is the original posting from Sept. 27.

Citrix's recent acquisition of OrbitalData, chronicaled and announced at:

creates a sense of excitement for me. This device is beyond the scope of what Citrix has been doing in the appliance world. Now everything they do is about "application delivery". I attended a seminar on the device at the Microsoft offices here in Cleveland yesterday and the one thing that stuck in my mind is the device optimizes CIFS. CIFS or common interchange file system, is Microsofts shot at improving SMB. (See wikipedia

Let me tell you why I think this is cool technology and how it can save your organization some money. The WanScaler is a synchronous solution in that you need a box at your data center and at each of your remote branches that you want to use it at.

We have come up with all of these cool ways to try and speed up delivery of mandatory profiles but this box could potentially be the end all be all to resolve the issues once and for all. You see CIFS are file traffic on a windows network. And Windows networks are extremely chatty. What if you could in effect copy the profile or data only once down to a box like this and all subsequent requests were delivered locally at the site instead of across the Wan?

The box has some intelligence built into it that stores the files, and will only download changes on subsequent requests. In a thin client environment this could reap some benefits if you are using a roaming mandatory profile for the clients to log into the network in order to authenticate and run the citrix client. In a standard windows environment that uses mandatory profiles where masses of people come in the morning at the same time and logon at the same time, this could dramatically improve the speed of logins. Anyways that is where I saw a benefit for us because all of workstations login with the same user name and get a dumb desktop that has a browser and Citrix client. Pipes get flooded in the morning and again in the afternoon when second shift starts logging on. Simply caching the profile at the remote site could free up a lot of bandwidth for us.

They mention CIFS but aren't selling the device saying it will speed up logins. At least not yet. The box claims to be transparent...they are not kidding! I have yet to actually see a picture of the Citrix version of it. I am hoping at iForum. It also was claimed you can get OC3 performance from your DS3! I was promised an onsite demo at the seminar I attended. Mark Templeton if you are listening I want the first one out of the box! (after all we were the first customer on CPS 4, implementing it the day it was released) WAH.

That being said I would be remiss if I did not point out that Cisco just released a similar product (or at least news releases about a similar product..seems also that this one is also transparent when trying to find an actual picture) called WAAS. Which stands for Wide area application services. Apparently these are cards that you can plug right in to the Cisco routers that do the same thing. So I guess I have to eat my words of a few weeks ago where I said that Citrix is hardly a competitor to Cisco. The two companies now have a competitive technological device. However l think that the Citrix box may be a hard sell in an all Cisco shop though. Plugging a card into an existing router or switch is a whole lot easier than trying to find more rack space at the head end and branches.

Either way it is a win win for us consumers and the Baby Bells better take note of this technology and embrace it as part of their package. It makes a whole lot of sense to buy a couple of devices to increase bandwidth instead of purchasing additional bandwidth with reoccuring fees.

Now if we could just get past that transparent issue and I could get my hands on them.... WAH : )

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