Certeon attacks WAN acceleration at app layer

Startup Certeon is making its play for a stake in the wide area network acceleration market with a line of hardware products that aim at significant improvement in application performance while maintaining end-to-end security, from the data center to the desktop.

Certeon's S-Series appliances go beyond current methods of WAN acceleration by being able to accelerate encrypted network traffic, according to Gareth Taube, vice president of marketing for Certeon.

Regular acceleration techniques work by stripping unneeded information out of data packets, compressing them into smaller sizes that can then be moved around a network more quickly than full-size packets.

But that technique falters when the data is encrypted, Taube said, because the data is hidden. Regular WAN acceleration devices can still pass the traffic through, but they can't accelerate it.

Certeon's devices, on the other hand, by including what Taube called "blueprints" of various applications, learns what parts of the output of those applications such as spreadsheets and PowerPoint documents remain the same and only passes through those elements that change.

S-Series devices are placed at each end of a network and by knowing the structure of each application's objects, which typically don't change, only the difference is transmitted.

"Our appliances actually have a deep understanding of application objects and the semantics they use to access data over the Web," Taube said.

That enables Certeon devices to handle data higher up the network protocol stack at the application level, he said, which is above the "security acceleration ceiling" that other WAN acceleration technologies are constrained by.

The three year-old startup has already notched a number of wins among Fortune 2000 companies which tend to focus on the bandwidth that can be freed-up using Certeon's devices, Taube said.

On the government side, where the company is in a number of talks with agencies, the security aspects are obviously of greater concern and the company is currently pursuing FIPS and other necessary certifications, he said.

Certeon currently markets three devices ' the S-1000, 2000 and 3000 ' for use by organizations ranging from small branch offices and agencies to large data centers. Per unit prices begin at $6,000.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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