Cisco speeds up mobile workers' application access

WAAS Mobile software client could overcome the increased WAN-load problems caused by server consolidation, Cisco has claimed.

Cisco Systems is going to offer businesses a new software client designed to increase the speed of access to remote applications for mobile workers.

The offering, announced Tuesday at the Cisco Networkers 2008 event in Barcelona, is an extension to Cisco's WAAS (wide area application services) portfolio, which has until now been able to increase the speed of access only to applications between companies' headquarters and branch offices.

WAAS Mobile, as it will be known, is a software client that is installed on a mobile worker's PC. It accelerates TCP-based applications to the mobile worker by reducing the number of TCP round-trips made between the server and the client and by using caching technology.

Cisco claims WAAS is important because of the increased load placed on companies' wide area networks by server-consolidation projects. When servers are placed in a central location, the round-trip between the client and the server takes longer because of the extra network links involved, producing extra traffic on the wide area network, with the user experience suffering as a result.

"You cannot execute on consolidation architecture without having a reliable connection to end users, so it is an important element of our data-center strategy," George Kurian, vice president and general manager of Cisco's application delivery division, said on Tuesday.

Speaking to, Kurian added that storage, servers, and applications were an opportunity for Cisco, and acceleration technologies were critical to successfully grasping that opportunity.

Kurian said Cisco had worked closely with Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP to understand how to best accelerate their applications. Key applications to be accelerated for mobile workers included Vista, Microsoft Office, Windows Server 2008, and Exchange, he said.

Expected improvements could be twofold for a PowerPoint presentation or sixfold for a Word document, Kurian suggested. However, those figures depend on a range of factors, including how much spare capacity and latency there is on the link, and whether the file has been seen by the user's WAAS Mobile client in the past.

Richard Thurston of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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