Remote working and the use of thin clients to connect to centrally stored servers brought with it the need to manage and secure these gateways to sensitive business data and important productivity suites. One solution was Propalms, using Microsofts Remote Desktop services as its connectivity foundation, which allows companies to manage their servers and applications while using SSL to secure user authentications and to provide access to only the applications a user needs. But, as with every solution, its performance is very sensitive to slow and congested WAN infrastructure, which is especially important because every time you save a bit of bandwidth means another user can be connected.
Our testing lab decided to mimic a business with a centrally stored Propalms server farm being connected to by a branch office client using a single port relay server to provide SSL security. This configuration would accurately reflect the standard installation found in most Propalms deployments.
For our tests, we set up a typical configuration of an application server acting as the back-end and a relay server running in single port relay mode so all connections are made across TCP port 443. We then attempted to connect a Windows 7 client on the other side of a WAN emulator configured with 2MB of bandwidth and 70ms of latency. This would allow us to guage the effectiveness of WAN optimisation on reducing the bandwidth consumption of Propalms and its underlying RDP traffic when under a low bandwidth, higher latency environment.
Since the key performance metrics for this test are centred around how long it takes for a user to connect, the lag between sending input (mouse movements, keyboard entry) and the data reduction achieved, we decided to test connecting before enabling the acceleration tunnel in order to find a baseline performance on our emulated connection.
Before acceleration, it would take 20 seconds from clicking on the Windows Desktop application to the RDP window first appearing. From there, typing into notepad on the remote server would involve a 2 second lag between the key press and the character appearing on the screen.
Once the acceleration tunnel was enabled, the same connection would take between 8 and 12 seconds from button click to RDP window opening and the delay between key presses and the characters appearing on the screen in notepad was reduced to a single second. So, immediately, we are seeing the wasted time reduced and the user experience improved leading to a boost in productivity.
The amount of bandwidth consumed by each connection is also greatly reduced, as you can see from the above screenshot. Before acceleration, the movement between different application windows and typing into notepad would have generated 2.1MB of data to be transferred across the WAN link. After acceleration, this was reduced by nearly 70%, to 664KB.
These bandwidth savings mean a greater number of users can be supported on this 2mb connection than before and, if the user was on a metered connection where every MB comes with a monetary cost such as mobile data connections, it directly reduces the costs of doing business on the go.
Propalms' use of the RDP protocol meant that before our WAN Optimisation units were installed, providing branch office and remote users access to shared resources and business applications was slow, dragging productivity down and costly in terms of bandwidth consumption and requirement per user due to the inefficiencies inherent in all remote access protocols. After acceleration there was a noticeable improvement in performance and the data reduction would also lead to an equally noticeable impact on your mobile communications, leaving you to work with the management and security facilities of the Propalms TSE suite.
Not only will Sangfor WAN Optimisation provide a boost in worker productivity, but it will increase the number of users your current WAN infrastructure can support without the prohibitively high line rental costs.