Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Will Vista's Bulk Weigh Down the WAN?

As Vista's delivery date keeps slipping, enterprises should use that time to figure out how to distribute the 3-GB software package. Even using Microsoft's SMS (Systems Management Server) to deliver one package per site will overwhelm the WAN links of most main offices.

Unfortunately, no one in the vendor community has the perfect answer. Wide area file service (WAFS) appliances might accelerate connections by reducing the chattiness of SMS' Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), but each office must still pull down its own copy of Vista.

Stratacache's OmniCast for Microsoft SMS2003 replaces BITS with its own Multicast File Transfer Protocol, so a headquarters can send a single copy of the file across a multicast network to local Stratacache servers. But Stratacache works over multicast networks only. The huge number of offices connected over Net-based DSL lines won't benefit from the technology--the Internet is still decidedly unicast.

Ultimately, companies will need a multitiered distribution plan. For sites with sufficient bandwidth and remote caching capabilities, distributing the software across the WAN may work. But for the vast majority of offices, only one solution may be reliable enough, wide enough and fast enough--the cargo hold of a FedEx 747.