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Cisco And NetQoS Partner For WAN Optimization And Performance Monitoring

In addition to Cisco's announcement about updates to its Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) (see "Cisco WAAS Protects Data At Rest"), Cisco and NetQoS are jointly announcing direct integration between Cisco's WAAS and NetQoS Performance Center for end-to-end application performance monitoring.

WAN optimization can have a significant impact on network performance, making sluggish application snappy and reducing WAN utilization using a mix of TCP and application-level optimizations and advanced compressions. Nearly all WAN optimization appliances work the same way by transparently proxying TCP connections between clients and servers located at remote sites (see WAN

WAN optimization by proxy

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Optimization by proxy at right). The effect on application monitoring is that TCP transaction times seem faster to clients and servers since the local WAN optimization appliance is completing the TCP connection and not the actual clients and servers. For example, let's say that on a network without WAN optimization the TCP delay between a client and a remote server is 100 milliseconds. With WAN optimization, the TCP delay would appear to be what ever is occurring on the LAN, which is typically less than 10 ms. Not only does that give misleading TCP characteristics, but it also will affect application performance monitoring because the time to complete an application transaction maybe reported as taking much longer than the TCP transaction.

All the WAN optimization appliances have reporting engines showing traffic statistics, but for the most part, the reporting is only layer 4 based and often only reports bits per second, compression ratios, and the like. While important, those statistics don't really tell you what a user sees.

Cisco's integration with NetQoS involves exporting the TCP headers to NetQoS's SuperAgent module of the Performance Management suite. NetQoS SuperAgent has new analysis features and a new report tab dedicated to reporting on WAN-optimized flows from the users perspective. In addition, new reporting capabilities can show traffic characteristics for each segment, either LAN and the WAN which is useful for performance management but also troubleshooting.

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