Sangfor WANACC S5000 review
SMBs with choked up WAN connections face a dilemma: it’s too expensive to throw more bandwidth at the problem, yet most WAN optimisation appliances are priced way beyond their means. Newcomer Sangfor offers a range of WAN optimisation and acceleration products that look incredibly good value.
The entry-level S5000 can handle up to 300 concurrent TCP connections plus WAN links up to 6Mbits/sec, yet costs only £2,000. Riverbed’s entry-level Steelhead 100 costs about the same, but supports a mere 25 concurrent TCP connections and 1Mbit/sec WAN links.
The S5000 works as a standard TCP proxy that intercepts and optimises all TCP traffic. It offers bandwidth management, protocol optimisation, compression and byte caching, along with application proxies, a built-in VPN module and an SPI firewall for enhanced site-to-site security.
Sangfor also offers its Portable Accelerator (PACC) client software. Unlike Riverbed’s Mobile solution, it works directly with Sangfor’s appliances and doesn’t require a separate controller. Sangfor also uses a more cost-effective concurrent user-licensing scheme.
The S5000’s well-designed web interface and wizard make light work of deployment. For testing, we called up the lab’s resident Network Nightmare WAN simulator (www.networknightmare.com) set for a 1Mbit/sec link with 40ms latency. We placed S5000 appliances on each side of the simulator; on the LAN we used a Windows Server 2003 R2 system configured with IIS and FTP services plus Kerio’s MailServer. On the remote side we placed a Windows 7 system running Live Mail and FileZilla.
To test WAN optimisation, we used the standard 4.8MB PowerPoint test presentation. Without optimisation, copying the file from client to server and back again took 44 seconds and 47 seconds respectively; with optimisation activated and a hot cache it took only four seconds both ways. Mailing the file with no optimisation took 58 seconds in each direction, but with optimisation enabled both tasks took just two seconds. Remotely opening the file took 50 seconds, and saving a modification to the server took 49 seconds. With optimisation activated, these times were reduced to eight and 14 seconds respectively. FTP operations also saw big speed boosts, with the file copied from client to server and back again in 42 seconds in each direction, but with Sangfor in the mix these times were reduced to less than two seconds.
The PACC client uses a local data cache on the host system that can be from 512MB to 4GB in size. Running the same set of tests delivered virtually identical results with the exception of the optimised client to server file copy, which took ten seconds as opposed to four seconds with the remote appliance.
The S5000 combines top WAN optimisation performance, an excellent feature set and integral mobile client support. Even more impressive is Sangfor does it at a price that puts the competition to shame.