Expand Networks offers WAN conservation appliances

Expand Networks has announced a new roster of WAN optimization appliances, intended to help remote offices avoid bottlenecks caused by enterprise applications.

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Today Expand Networks Inc. is announcing several WAN optimization products that are intended to improve application performance in disparate business locations.

The Roseland, N.J.-based vendor is releasing several new network appliances to help enterprises make better use of the virtual pipeline that links the internal networks of branch offices and connect them with the Internet.

Its new Accelerator 4020 appliance supports branch office WAN speeds of up to 4 Mbps and 50 private virtual circuits. The Accelerator 4820 is 50% faster, and supports 50 remote sites.

For data centers, the new Accelerator 6840 supports WAN speeds as fast as 45 Mbps and 350 remote sites. The company is also offering an HTTPS Accelerator appliance, also supporting 45 Mbps speeds, to accelerate traffic for secure e-business applications.

Pedro Colaco, Expand's vice president of marketing, said the products can help companies avoid costly WAN upgrades. As enterprise applications evolve, they are demanding ever-increasing amounts of WAN bandwidth. He said when multiple users are working with multiple applications, WAN bottlenecks, latency and packet loss are inevitable.

"In 1999, it wasn't very sexy to tell customers that they're going to be able to do more with their existing frame relay links," Colaco said, "but we're putting more and more apps through a very thin pipe now, and some apps are not very well behaved."

Colcao said Expand's strategy is geared toward addressing the growing use of Web-based enterprise applications in remote offices. He noted the results of an Ashton, Metzler & Associates survey, in which 38% of enterprises expected 50% of their WAN traffic to be generated in remote locations by the end of next year.

The accelerators provide WAN efficiencies by first using what Colaco called their out-of-the-box functionality to optimize the way enterprise applications send data over the WAN. Then they use application-specific acceleration techniques to eliminate the repetitive download of information.

For instance, the accelerators can cache DNS information, so after one user connects to a Web application like mySAP, the DNS translation information is cached, allowing other users in the same office to rely on the cached IP address, instead of burdening the WAN with additional requests.

By eliminating other, similar kinds of WAN requests, such as providing local access to software distribution files and system patches, Colaco said the accelerators can provide branch offices with 10 times better application performance.

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Additionally, its Layer 7 quality of service capabilities enable network managers to prioritize application traffic, making sure mission-critical applications always have the bandwidth they need.

Besides mySAP, Calico said the accelerators are ideal for other enterprise applications, such as Siebel 8, Oracle 11i, PeopleSoft 8 and Salesforce.com.

The 4020 and 4820 are available immediately for $5,495 and $4,495, respectively. The 6840 will be released in June and priced at $24,995, while the HTTPS Accelerator is available now for $28,995.

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