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Aruba takes application acceleration to the cloud

The equipment vendor has launched a service that reduces the delay in sending data across the WAN with less requirement for branch office gear

Aruba Networks has launched a cloud-based application acceleration service for businesses that want to accelerate traffic to and from their branch offices.

On Tuesday, the equipment vendor unveiled Virtual Branch Networks (VBN) 2.0, updating the remote access package with the application acceleration service, a content delivery network and a content security service, all based in the cloud.

VBN 2.0 is aimed at businesses with employees based in secondary locations or who go on the road. "We want to provide the inside-the-network [LAN] experience to branch offices and home workers," said Roger Hockaday, Aruba Networks' EMEA director of marketing.

Hockaday noted the alternative to ensure a LAN-like experience in the branch office was to deploy routing, application acceleration and security equipment at the office in question, which would require local IT support. "Now you can do this from the cloud. You don't need all that equipment in the branch office," he said.

With the Aruba service, application acceleration is carried out in the cloud rather than in its traditional location at the branches themselves. The equipment vendor has been offering cloud-based services since May 2009, but the announcement is the first time it has offered cloud-based application acceleration.

Application acceleration involves reducing the latency — or in other words, delay — of sending packets of data across a wide area network. It is particularly useful for time-sensitive applications such as CRM, for which a response from the business's central server is required quickly. The VBN 2.0 application acceleration is designed to work with e-mail, web browsing and file-sharing software.

VBN 2.0 uses two techniques to accelerate traffic. First, it uses block acknowledgement, which groups together the exchange of messages between the client and the server to reduce the number of round-trips made. Second, it uses the content delivery network to store content closer to the user.

The hosted security service in the package provides antispam, antivirus, content filtering and data leakage prevention. All the VBN 2.0 services are delivered via an Aruba remote access point, with licences for applications handled separately.

The VBN 2.0 package is also available for home workers, though the potential savings are lower because home workers have far less networking equipment installed, according to Aruba. The company's VBN remote access points are priced at £300 per site whether they are for home or branch office use.