Cisco is to offer businesses a new software client designed to increase the speed of access to remote applications for mobile workers.
The offering, announced on 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 only been able to increase the speed of access 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 roundtrips 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 roundtrip 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 a consolidation architecture without having a reliable connection to end users, so it is an important element of our data-centre strategy," said George Kurian, vice president and general manager of Cisco's application delivery division, on Tuesday.
Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk, Kurian added that storage, servers and applications presented 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 access to 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 two-fold for a PowerPoint presentation or six-fold 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.