Thursday, June 18, 2009

Replify an interesting start up that can boost your cloud applications running over the corporate WAN

I bumped into Replify a few months ago when they were presenting for only 5 minutes in one of those marathon sessions where you listen to quick pitches from too many companies. Replify caught my attention because they claimed to drastically speed up WAN traffic. After talking with them for a bit longer than five minutes I started to understand what it is they are doing.

Let's say a sales person is accessing the company email and file server via a VPN connection. Depending on where the sales person is the connection might be slow or it might be fast. As a side note: I have noticed in my travels that a lot of hotels proudly claim to have a T1 connection to the hotel, but what they don't realize is that T1 means 1 megabit per second, which is already much slower than most home DSL connections, and that things get even slower if you have 100 guests in your hotel all sharing this 1 megabit per second. 100 guests sharing 1 megabit, you do the math and you will get something resembling dial-up speeds.

Replify to the rescue; their product has two parts, one part is installed centrally inside the company and the other part is installed on the laptop. Both parts once installed will make a copy of all the Internet traffic sent and received. Then when you are about to send a bunch of data over the link that you have sent earlier, then instead of sending the data it will just send an instruction to the other side as to which part of the previous data stream it should reuse.

So if for example you download a large file from your central file server, make some small edits, and upload the document back to the office, then it will in effect only send the changes you made to the other side, since most of the document is already on the server. Same goes for when you receive an email with a large attachment: you will have to wait a while before the attachment is downloaded but when you click on forward, the new email message with attachment is send almost instantaneously because the other side already has the document.

All of this is done without changing any of the infrastructure. The Replify client on the laptop talks to the Replify server in the office and together they figure out what the minimum amount of data is that needs to be send and after the data stream leaves the Replify client or server it looks just like the original data stream. Depending on your situation you can save quite a lot of bandwidth and time. Replify as such of course also makes a great performance enhancer for any type of cloud based services.

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