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Accelerating Microsoft SharePoint with Steelhead appliances and Stingray Aptimizer

A faster loading web site or intranet provides users with a more satisfying experience because there is a shorter wait for web pages to render and be usable. Statistically, it has been observed that if a webpage takes longer than 7 seconds to load, users will abandon the action.

For most web pages, less than 20% of the end user response time is spent by the web servers producing the HTML web page document, while 80% of the end user response time is spent transferring the document from the web server to the browser.

This means with an average web page load time of seven seconds, only about one second is spent in “server processing”, while six seconds are spent in “browser processing” – the browser downloading all the page resources and rendering the page. Reducing web page load time is vital to improving user experience.

Riverbed’s wide area network (WAN) optimization solution has traditionally employed a symmetrical deployment of Steelhead appliances to improve end user performance by application and transport streamlining techniques, along with data deduplication to conserve network bandwidth. While these techniques are better equipped to work on moving data across the network, there are other techniques that work better by optimizing the content on the server itself.

Web content optimization (WCO) is the technique used to streamline web page content by optimizing the HTML content on a webpage. Stingray Aptimizer uses WCO techniques like pre-fetching HTML objects, caching and compression to improve page load times.

While WAN optimization and web content optimization ultimately have the same end goal of improving user performance, the techniques employed serve different use cases. In the rest of this paper, we will examine how each of these two techniques optimizes delivery of web content both separately and in a complementary fashion.