Peribit Networks Promises DNA-inspired Traffic Boost

Taking a cue from molecular biology, Peribit Networks Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., on Aug. 28 released a solution that is claimed to improve network performance by as much as 90 per cent.

Much as human genome scientists have determined that any two people share roughly 99 per cent of the same DNA, Peribit has discovered that at least 70 per cent of all network traffic is repetitive and thus unnecessary, according to Amit Singh, the company’s founder and chief scientist.

Hence, Peribit’s new rack-mountable SR-50 device uses the company’s MSR (Molecular Sequence Reduction) algorithms to identify and eliminate redundant network data, thereby lowering the amount of traffic that must be transported across a WAN. More specifically, MSR works by assigning a unique label to each pattern, creating a “dictionary” of repeated sequences. All instances of those patterns are then replaced by the labels. Later, the labels are decoded with the original patterns to restore the data to its original state.

“The key to a lot of computational biology is pattern recognition – finding patterns in DNA sequences and protein structures,” Singh said. “We’ve used those techniques for finding very fine-grained patterns in data.”

The SR-50 is unique in that it scrutinizes data very closely, which, according to Singh, is the only way to identify many of the byte-pattern repetitions that crop up in network data.

“Some of it exists at a very low level, like a 20- or 30-byte pattern,” Singh said. “And sometimes entire objects are repeated.”

Furthermore, Peribit’s technology works independent of any application, content, protocol, and transmission, according to Dan O’Farrell, the company’s vice-president of marketing.

In surveys of large Bay Area enterprises that have tested Peribit’s technology, e-mail traffic was reduced by 70 per cent and SQL data by 80 per cent, according to a Peribit press release. It also said that Excite@Home users realized a 96 per cent traffic reduction for broadband home pages and 90 per cent for chat servers.

Fenwick & West, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based law firm, is using the SR-50 to alleviate the growing demands on its WAN capacity. Matt Kesner, the firm’s CTO, said in a statement that Peribit has reduced the volume of Fenwick & West’s traffic by 70 per cent.

“I’m no longer at the mercy of bandwidth providers,” Kesner said. “I can control my own destiny.”

Peribit’s technology has interesting potential, especially because it works faster than most compression devices, according to Tom Nolle, CEO of the CIMI Corp. research firm in Voorhees, N.J.

“They’re achieving rates of compression that are comparable to the high-efficiency algorithms that have been used in the past, but with a fraction of the insertion delay,” Nolle said.

Nolle added that the technology could find a home in the unsettled carrier market.

“This could be a great strategy for a carrier who is wholesaling an access connection from an RBOC [regional Bell operating company] and wants to sell high-speed service but doesn’t want to pay for the wholesale bandwidth at full rate. You can wholesale the slower pipe and run the compression over it. This [technology] has a lot of interesting wrinkles.”

For now, however, Peribit’s pitch is aimed specifically at enterprises, many of which now have less capital to build out their networks. But O’Farrell noted that the technology is already amenable to service provider environments.

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