Network acceleration cures congestion for pharma supplier
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Affymax—a former division of Philadelphia-based pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline—faced critical network congestion when it moved to a network-attached storage architecture. The network, recalls Affymax Engineer Ben Maulis, had neither the speed nor the capacity to handle the volume of traffic the move entailed.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Affymax —a former division of Philadelphia-based pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline —faced critical network congestion when it moved to a network-attached storage architecture.
The network, recalls Affymax Engineer Ben Maulis, had neither the speed nor the capacity to handle the volume of traffic the move entailed. As a result, full backups of the company's mission-critical information took four days.
The network-intensive analytical applications used by Affymax chemists and biologists didn't help—and neither did a “woefully inadequate” network infrastructure.
A plan to run 100Base-T cable to 250 desktops would help—as would installing Gigabit cable on the trunks and in the data center—but congestion at the server end still looked inevitable.
That didn't happen, thanks to Gigabit Accelerators from Alacritech , a company specializing in network-boosting acceleration technology.
“Server network and TCP/IP processing consumes more resources than people imagine,” says Doug Rainbolt, an Alacritech company VP. “Installing what can be thought of as turbocharged network interface cards designed to take responsibility for network and TCP/IP processing, and interfacing these directly to application memory, removes a lot of the network workload from the processor.”
Because the processor is no longer interrupted by network traffic, processor performance increases. And with network and TCP/IP processes handled by specialist hardware, network performance improves too.
“Compared to a standard network interface card, there's a 45-percent increase in throughput performance, but it can be as high as 300 percent, depending on the particular traffic being handled,” says Rainbolt.
“We successfully consolidated servers from 30 to 12, and significantly increased network throughput. Full backups now take only eight hours, a 75-percent reduction,” concludes Maulis.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.