New Network Boosts Access Speed - InformationWeek
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4/15/2005
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New Network Boosts Access Speed

Cascade Lumber and Manufacturing uses FineGround's Velocity-FS system to increase access speeds for users at its branches and remote sites throughout the Midwest.

Cascade Lumber and Manufacturing Co. is a fast-growing manufacturer and distributor of engineered roof and floor systems, but its corporate office is located in Cascade, Iowa, where bandwidth availability is sparse and the deployment of multiple T1 lines is expensive.

To solve its networking dilemma, the company turned to FineGround Networks Inc.'s Velocity-FS Wide Area File Services, a single-box system that sits in the data center and connects to other remote locations to accelerate file access over wide area networks.

The network links let Cascade's remote offices access corporate information and applications, which are maintained in the company's data center at its headquarters.

The manufacturer has been using Velocity-FS since March, and it has already boosted access speeds for the many users at its branches and remote sites throughout the Midwest. Velocity-FS also has reduced branch and site download times from 70 seconds to less than five seconds, IT manger Joel Althoff says.

Cascade also chose to deploy Velocity-FS because it's a single system that handles file traffic from an unlimited number of locations, unlike other systems that the company evaluated, which require a box to be placed in every location, Althoff says. "Every time you add a location, you add increased cost. With FineGround, we can add another site without having to add more infrastructure to the data center, and that's a very cost-effective solution," he says.

Additionally, the company didn't have centralized data storage, and every remote location was responsible for file backup. With Velocity-FS, the company has consolidated its various branch-office storage pools into a centralized system, Althoff says.

What makes Velocity-FS different from a file engine or a symmetrical compression device is the fact that it's installed in front of data-center storage and file systems to allow file traffic across wide area networks. "The system is designed to solve the problem of latency," says Jay Mellman, VP of marketing at FineGround. "It reduces the number of trips that happen over the slow wire and increases the number of trips over the fast wire."

Cascade is looking at other ways to leverage the system. It will start testing Velocity-FS over local area networks in hopes of decreasing network traffic. This will allow all communication to go directly from the Velocity-FS box to the file server, rather than from the file server to the client. "Hopefully, that will decrease the amount of talking that goes through the different switches and actual wiring," Althoff says.

FineGround formally launched Velocity-FS this week. The product starts at $20,000 and is available for pilot deployments. General availability of Velocity-FS is slated for the second quarter.

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