With latency such an important issue, software vendors are spending much more time today considering how their designs will impact the wide area network (WAN) than they did in the past, says Damon Ennis, VP of product management at Silver Peak. "The most important design pattern a software vendor should consider is to reduce the overall 'chattiness' of the application in order to minimize the number of round trips required for each operation, such as File > Open, Close or Edit."
To that end, software vendors are making efforts to reduce application chattiness, Ennis points out. Take Microsoft, for example. The version of Common Internet File System (Server Message Block 2.0, or CIFS (SMB2), in Windows 7 and Server 2008 performs an "order of magnitude" better than it previously did, he says.
These improvements add value to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, Web browsers and many other applications, Ennis adds. The same is true of the local area network, but LAN latency is low as it is, so "the gap, and therefore the opportunity, is not as large," he says.
While these SMB2 improvements promise to reduce application latency, Ennis believes that organizations will still benefit from WAN optimization techniques, since "a well-designed WAN optimizer works generically and thus benefits any and all applications."
Optimizing Application Front End Also Reduces Chatter
Front-end optimization, on the other hand, looks at a wide range of design practices that can make Web pages perform faster in a high-latency environment. One prominent technique is to reduce the number of requests by making the page less chatty. Techniques such as sprinting and using data URI let developers embed binary data such as images into text resources such as CSS and HTML pages.
Analysis: Webmasters Face New Site Optimization Challenges