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Atomic Speed Technology (AST): Iron Orbit’s Performance-Enhancing Technologies

Atomic Speed Technology (AST) is a technology stack, or a set of underlying technologies, that we at Iron Orbit use in our hosting platform. AST maximizes the performance of our hosted solutions. It combines technologies that we developed ourselves based on our 10+ years' experience in IT hosting with third-party technologies from Citrix, Microsoft, and others. It is automatically included for no extra cost with all Iron Orbit solutions.

Most of AST’s enhancements are focused on the storage and networking layers (or aspects) of our hosting platform. In the simplest terms, AST ensures that data travels through our hosting platform as efficiently as possible, maximizing the speed with which actions are performed (the launching of applications, the opening of files, etc.) and the resolution (or quality) of the video output that shows up on your device. One key feature of AST is that it will transfer frequently-accessed data from low-speed long term storage drives to high-speed short term storage drives based on a person’s usage history—so if the first thing a user does every time he logs in to his hosted desktop is open up Intuit QuickBooks, then our AST-enhanced hosting platform will load the QuickBooks application data in the background as soon as the user logs in, and the application will launch almost immediately when the user clicks on it rather than taking the normal 20-30 seconds to load.

Another key feature of AST is packet prioritization, which organizes network traffic based on how “latency-sensitive” the data is, or how noticeable it would be if there was any kind of delay in the data being received by the user’s device. For example, it would definitely be noticeable if there was a delay between when you clicked on something with your mouse and the click registering onscreen, or between typing something into your keyboard and the words appearing onscreen, which is why AST prioritizes this kind of data (mouse clicks and keyboard strokes). On the other hand, you probably wouldn’t notice if a file you were downloading or a website you were accessing arrived a few milliseconds late, so this type of data can be delayed without significantly affecting the overall performance of your hosted solution.

Iron Orbit didn’t invent trend-based caching or packet prioritization, of course, and we’re not the only hosting providers that incorporate them and similar performance-enhancing technologies in our hosting platform. What is unique about AST, however, is how these technologies have been expertly configured and combined into a holistic, self-balancing, and adaptive system. For example, packet prioritization isn’t one-size-fits-all technology; it has to be minutely configured so that networks only prioritize certain types of traffic, and so that the types of traffic that aren’t prioritized aren’t delayed to a blatant extent. Packet prioritization also has to be coordinated or balanced with other technologies like trend-based caching, so that its prioritization of network traffic doesn’t cause slowdowns in other areas of the hosting platform (for example, if the technology sets a low priority on pre-loading application data, then it might negate the benefits of trend-based caching). AST, relying on our internally-developed algorithms and software, ensures that these technologies are always configured and synchronized so that they maximize the performance of our hosted solutions.

The end result of AST is that your Iron Orbit hosted solution should be extremely fast and responsive and feature high-definition video and audio, even if you are accessing your Iron Orbit hosted solution from a low-bandwidth connection or if an unusually large number of users are accessing their Iron Orbit solutions all at the same time. As mentioned, AST is automatically included with all Iron Orbit solutions for no additional cost; it is an integral, always-on component of our hosting platform that you do not have to request or purchase separately or implement yourself. Furthermore, because it is software-based, it does not add anything to the overall cost of our hosted services—AST does not use any additional bandwidth or require the purchase of more expensive IT hardware, in other words, it just uses skillfully-developed technologies to get the most out of our existing resources.