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Top US task force picks Expand WAN technology

New Jersey, June 10, 2009

A top level US Marine task force in Iraq has deployed Expand Networks’ WAN (wide area network) optimisation technology to improve the performance of critical applications over satellite links used in its operations in Iraq.

Multi-National Forces West, the highest level of command for the US Marines Corps Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) in Iraq has deployed WAN optimisation technology from Expand, a leader in optimising WANs for branch office consolidation and virtualisation.

The optimisation technology successfully supported the US Marines relocation from Camp Fallujah to Al Asad Air Base, and continues to optimise traffic to overcome database replication time-outs of its biometric automated toolset (BATS) technology between checkpoints in the region.

Holding sensitive biometric data such as fingerprints and retina scans, BATS is used by all Marines manning military checkpoints in the region and is a significant intelligence application for capturing known or suspected terrorists. Critical to users across the spectrum involved in intercepting suspected terrorists, it is vital this database remain accurate and updated.

However, design limitations of satellite networks can cause high latency and packet loss that can severely affect application performance resulting in delayed file transfer and slow response times. Experiencing database replication time-outs of the information at its remote locations, the US Marines recognised it could apply a WAN optimisation strategy to keep all databases across the region synchronised reliably and efficiently.

Captain Criston W Cox, MNF-W Data Systems Officer, said: “Before implementing the optimisation technology, our throughput averaged 8 to 9 kbps with multiple timeouts over the TDMA SATCOM links. To overcome the issues, we were regularly updating alternative servers at base and would fly them out to the isolated sites via helicopters to keep the data updated. This created a significant cost in manpower and air transport requirements.”

“Once we put the Expand accelerators online, the BATS server interface indicated a constant transfer rate at 5.8 mbps, with no time outs or data corruption, and this was over a 2 mbps link,” he added.

“The efficient compression and TCP acceleration combined successfully to significantly increase performance, which in turn alleviated the burden of physically updating and flying servers out to the remote locations.”

Expand Networks’ integrated WAN optimisation technology combines techniques such as byte-level caching, dynamic compression and TCP acceleration to enable available satellite bandwidth and real-time interactive TCP traffic be maximised.

There are many products out there that can do each of these functions, but Expand has the ability to provide a multilayered approach to network optimisation in a single platform.

Expand accelerators were also part of the migration of 17 terabytes of data from Camp Fallujah to Al Asad Air Base in support of the MNFW Headquarters Element relocation.

To move the data, the US Marines decided to execute the disaster recovery plan that was in place in order to back up all data held at Camp Fallujah to the new base at Al Asad.

“During the relocation exercise, we noted a performance problem in keeping the NetApps SNAP mirror sessions up-to-date over the link,” Captain Cox said.

“By utilising the optimisation techniques of the Expand accelerators, the issue was immediately mitigated and we saw throughput increase from around 120k to 6mbs, enabling a smooth and quick transition,” he added.

“I based my decision to go with Expand on previously observed performance during my own empirical analysis of several competing protocol enhancement proxies as part of my naval postgraduate school thesis work, and have since been very impressed with the product and the team of engineers at Expand who were always available t


Tags: Iraq | New Jersey | Expand Networks | WAN optimisation | Marine task force |

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