In a business, file sharing is supposed to improve efficiency. Rather than editing multiple electronic copies of a documents and later merging the various versions, work teams can share access to a single master document. This eliminates duplicate efforts and keeps everyone on the same page, even when working from remote offices. Many organizations have embraced file sharing, in part thanks to the massive push from Microsoft and other technology vendors who have made collaboration a central theme of their new software releases.
Yet file sharing has created some negative unintended consequences for many companies. Applications that tout collaboration capabilities, such as Microsoft SharePoint and Windows File Sharing, bombard the network by retransmitting entire files time and time again.
When a team member makes minor grammatical changes to a Word document or adds a graphic to a PowerPoint presentation, the entire file might be transmitted throughout the organization – rather than simply the incremental changes. This increased traffic on a wide-area network (WAN) can lead to expensive bandwidth and server upgrades, plus add more work for the IT department.
When SonicWALL recognized this problem, it developed a new technology designed specifically to cure the ills of a WAN bogged down by file sharing. The SonicWALL WAN Acceleration Appliance solves several of the challenges that file sharing creates. In the simplest terms, SonicWALL dramatically reduces network traffic by transmitting only new or changed data – not entire files. This creates several benefits:
- Reduced total cost of ownership, thanks to increased efficiency of the existing network, as well as avoidance of network and bandwidth upgrades.
- Improved performance and reduced latency, with data compression across the network.
- Improved response time with Windows File Sharing acceleration.
- Better security, as SonicWALL’s Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection technology scans all traffic and data for threats.
- LAN-like application performance over the WAN, with decreased latency and chattiness.
- Extended life for existing WAN links because of reduced bandwidth consumption, the result of byte caching and file caching.
Deployment of the SonicWALL appliance requires little change of the existing WAN. At an organization’s headquarters, as well as each branch office, a firewall appliance is installed. This enables VPN connectivity between all sites.
Then, the acceleration appliance is connected to the firewall at each location. There, it improves WAN performance by reducing the amount of data moving through the VPN. Additional tools help the IT team manage traffic even better. For example, the SonicWALL Appliance Intelligence and Control Service can further prioritize and control application traffic.