Coyote Point Brings Next-Gen Networking to Life with Innovative Appliances

When it comes to WAN optimization and application acceleration solutions, big name vendors such as F5 Networks, Riverbed BlueCoat and Barracuda normally get all the press. After all, squeezing maximum performance out of a WAN and its associated applications has quickly become job No. 1 for most network managers. However, smaller vendors are striving to one-up the big names with new connectivity methodologies and technical advancements. Case in point is CoyotePoint.

April 13, 2012

5 Min Read
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When it comes to WAN optimization and application acceleration solutions, big-name vendors such as F5 Networks, Riverbed, Blue Coat and Barracuda normally get all the press. After all, squeezing maximum performance out of a WAN and its associated applications has quickly become job No. 1 for most network managers. However, smaller vendors are striving to one-up the big names with new connectivity methodologies and technical advancements.

Case in point is Coyote Point, which for 12 years has been delivering appliances that help improve application and WAN performance. Although Coyote Point is one of the lesser-known entities in the realm of application acceleration and WAN optimization solutions, the company is ready to take on the big names with its latest platform, EQ/OS10. Although EQ/OS10 is referred to as a platform, in reality it's the core operating system and applications for the company's Equalizer series of appliances. The changes and enhancements are so significant that EQ/OS10 pretty much reinvents what a Coyote Point appliance can achieve in the enterprise, and is much more than just another release of the company's core software. Coyote Point's latest deserves a fresh look.

I recently visited Coyote Point's Millerton, N.Y., offices to set up a couple of the company's appliances for testing. The devices I tested included a Coyote Point E350GX, as well as the company's Equalizer OnDemand virtual appliance. I put both units (virtual and physical) through their paces and focused on the new capabilities offered.

I found ease of use a major theme throughout the product. All of the major features of the product can be configured directly from the management GUI, eliminating the need to use a CLI to configure the device. While many vendors in this space offer GUIs, most still require interfacing with a CLI for some basic setup chores. For example, Layer 7 application traffic management can be quickly defined and include criteria ranging from simple to complex. Rules can be built to identify and appropriately route things like HTTP and SSL versions, type of browser, URL path names, file names, extensions and cookie data. In short, L7 routing lets administrators create flexible cluster configurations by specifying rules that direct traffic to servers.

I tested Coyote Point's equalizer series of products about two years ago, and the new devices have significant enhancements. First and foremost is the support for IPv6. Some older versions also offered IPv6 support, but EQ/OS10 adds some major enhancements. For example, the company's appliances allow you to transform and migrate IPv6 networks--you can attach IPv4 networks to IPv6 networks and acts as the go-between, translating addresses as needed and handling all of the heavy lifting associated with IPv6 routing. What's more, it's very easy to set up, thanks to a wizard-driven model that let me almost instantly define the required elements for access to IPv6 content.

IPv6 simplicity is further enhanced by the device's use of VLANs to define server access and cluster memberships. It's a rather simple paradigm: Administrators create IPv6 subnets and then assign those subnets to server clusters and failover clusters. Coyote Point offers global IPv6 support using 6in4 tunnel technology, which is provided by Hurricane Electric to route IPv6 traffic over IPv4 networks. That proves very handy if a company's ISP or carrier does not offer native IPv6 support.

Another improvement is the way the device handles servers and other networking components. You can now organize devices into groups. Each networking component is treated as an object, which can then be placed into groups--even multiple groups. That proves to be a simple concept, where a physical server needs to be defined only once and can then be assigned to multiple server pools with drag-and-drop simplicity.Other vendors have offered similar capabilities for some time now. Although Coyote Point may be playing catch-up with an object-orientated management model, the company has made up for lost time by making it very clear and easy to understand via the drag-and-drop capabilities of the GUI.

One of the primary features offered by EQ/OS10 is the ability to quickly scale out servers and incorporate load-balancing technology to increase the efficiency of processes provided over a WAN (or even a LAN) connection. Again, that simplicity is powered by the new group/= object paradigms. Here, I was able to create server groups and deploy advanced traffic capabilities, such as HTTP multiplexing, which allows the re-use of server connections (commonly called TCP multiplexing).

That offers a significant improvement in performance for clients making multiple requests to a particular HTTP session. The device also works as a gateway to servers, allowing groupings of servers to be created using load-balancing algorithms to service requests and enabling administrators to improve application performance simply by adding new servers into the servicing group.

Coyote Point's EQ/OS10 operating system provides full support for 802.1Q-tagged VLANs, as well as untagged VLANs, while the GUI makes it easy to discover and/or define VLAN elements. I was particularly impressed with how VLAN elements could be defined using a drag-and-drop graphical interface, which simplifies the definition of virtual LANs. The visual reference made it much easier to quickly identify, define and control VLANs.

As expected, VLANs also support multinetting, which allows administrators to create multiple subnets under a single Layer 2 infrastructure. Although that feature is relatively common among WAN optimization type appliances, it is still notable because it allows administrators to define multiple Layer 3 networks on a single infrastructure setup.

Network administrators should find that deploying an EQ/OS10-based solution is relatively straightforward. All it takes is networking knowledge and a good understanding of WAN and LAN routing principles. It all starts with plugging in the device, which resides inline, between the servers and the WAN/LAN connections. The browser-based management console makes setting up the device straightforward, using setup wizards and extensive help files.

EQ/OS10 offers several features geared toward performance. Most notable are SSL offloading and HTTP compression, both of which have the ability to significantly speed traffic across the network and to reduce latency.

All things considered, Coyote Point's latest platform is ready to take on the big iron of the WAN optimization market and offers unique innovations and an ease of use that is second to none.

Coyote Point's appliances are available now.

E250GX - starts at $1,995

E350GX - starts at $6,495

E650GX - starts at $14,395

What are your peers saying about WAN optimization? Find out in IT Pro Ranking: WAN Optimization Appliances. (Free, registration required)

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