The TLS handshake process performs expensive calculations and a busy server might easily be put under load. To reduce the load, session resumption may be used. This is a feature of the TLS protocol which allows a client to connect to a server after a successful handshake, without the expensive calculations. This is achieved by re-using the previously established keys, meaning the server needs to store the state of established connections (unless session tickets are used – Session tickets).
Session resumption is an integral part of GnuTLS, and Session resumption, ex-resume-client illustrate typical uses of it.