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F5 Networks Serves Up Microsoft Office Apps

WAN optimization vendor F5 Networks has introduced a new hosted service that delivers Microsoft applications to enterprise customers using an overlay network constructed around its products.

There are lots of components to WAN optimization. Data reduction significantly reduces the bits on the wire, but doesn't really help much with applications that have lots of round trips like CIFS/SMB, SharePoint, and the like. Optimizing those specific application protocols to reduce packets on the WAN will make the applications respond faster to user input. Unfortunately, protocol optimization is something of an arms race. Only specific applications are supported and the vendor must keep in step with application revisions. The success of F5's application optimization will depend on keeping the optimization in lock step with application updates.

Mike Fratto
NWC Senior Technology Editor

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