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Author's profile photo Joerg Nalik

Speeding up the Internet

We are somewhere in the 2nd decade of mass Internet adoption, but one thing hasn’t changed much since the beginning: many websites need a few seconds or even 10ns of seconds to load and downloading large documents might take minutes. The famous Moore’s Law predicts a performance doubling about every 18 month, so since the beginning of the Internet maybe a 2^10 ~ 1000 fold improvement should have had time to happen. That this didn’t apply to web traffic and is unlikely to happen in future is due to 2 facts:

  • Electric signals can only travel with the speed of light or less and that causes latency time delays for communications over longer distances.
  • The prevalent standard Internet communication protocol TCP/IP is very sensitive to the unavoidable network latencies due to its “chattiness”, meaning there are a lot of latency caused waiting times for a sender getting received-acknowledgments from a receiver for  rather small data packages.

These two points are both exempt from Moore’s Law progress, hence the enduring slowness of the Internet.

Point 1 is unmovable as a law of nature. The second point is man-made but equally difficult to overcome since changing a so widely adopted standard like the Internet communication protocol would risk major disruptions due to incompatibilities during a change period. Therefore a switch to a more efficient standard didn’t happen so far.

Still solutions for overcoming the slowness of the Internet do exist and SAP NetWeaver AccAD is one of them. The so called WAN Accelerators have as a working principle to be deployed as pairs on the sending and receiving side of Internet traffic and to transform the inefficient standard protocol of the Internet into a far more efficient but proprietary method of data transmission over wide area networks (WAN). They do so in a transparent way for the application/client end-points so that no changes of your applications or front-end tools like browsers are required. These acceleration technologies lead to big response time improvements by eliminating latency effects almost entirely and by reducing bandwidth usage through advanced compression algorithms. Their benefits come at the price of needing to deploy yet another network technology in datacenters as well as in branch office and even on nowadays various types of mobile devices.

While Wan accelerators like SAP Netweaver AccAD are mostly designed for their performance and network capacity saving benefits, there are other network technologies which focus more on security and reliability aspects of the network for SAP and other applications.  Those network technology sets are often summarized under the term application delivery controllers (ADCs, vs. the before mentioned WAN optimization controllers, WOCs).

As so often, combining two complementing technologies like ADCs and WOCs can lead to greater benefits than just the sum of both. In particular when you chain network services like ADCs and WOCs a significant amount of configuration has to be done in between those two, which is an opportunity to simplify by bundling both products into one. In general a lot of additional benefits from simplified deployments as well as operations can be realized over time when consolidating network products.

Therefore, the SAP AccAD product team reached out to SAP’s network technology partners with a proposal to cooperate. Radware, one of the previously SAP certified network technology partners, engaged with us and we tested their ADC in combination with the SAP NetWeaver AccAD component in SAP’s Co-Innovation Lab. The results are quite excellent. You can find details in our recent publication  Radware offers AccAD as part of their FastView™  solution. FastView offers all network reliability, security and performance capabilities for the remote use of SAP solution together. With the a new AccAD version included in the FastView product acceleration of http based traffic as well as of SAP’s own SAPGUI front-end traffic is possible. Besides our whitepaper you can visit us at SAP TechEd 2012 in Las Vegas and Madrid to learn more. AccAD is presented at sessions TEC111 and TEC812 and Radware is exhibiting at TechEd.

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