Expand Adds WAFS to WAN Acceleration - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

Expand Adds WAFS to WAN Acceleration

Expand Networks has inked a deal with DiskSites to add wide area file services (WAFS) and Common Internet File System (CIFS) acceleration to its wide area network (WAN) acceleration platform.

Adding the new services to the company's core Accelerator platform gives Expand one of the broadest offerings in the hot market for WAFS and WAN optimization, says Ariel Shulman, Expand's vice president of product management.

The company also announced three new hardware platforms — the Accelerator 4920, 6910 and 6940 series — that incorporate hard disk technology that enables disk-based content caching in addition to the new WAFS capabilities.

With 60% of enterprises consolidating servers and another 28% considering it, according to Gartner, the market is ripe for firms that can ensure remote application performance and data access.

Expand's new offerings promise LAN-like application performance over WANs by keeping a replicated copy of the file in the remote cache and offering remote virtualization, high availability, scalability and centralized management.

"Expand is delivering on our vision to offer a multi-service branch office platform," stated Expand President Amir Chitayat. "We are positioned to address the next big IT challenge with our open architecture that allows us to seamlessly integrate new organic or third-party application acceleration services. It is all about future-proofing the customer's investments."

Expand's Linux-based open platform allows the company to quickly deploy additional services like DiskSites' WAFS modules, the company said.

Expand has been around since 1999 and boasts 1,200 customers and 22,000 units shipped, but the company in recent months has found itself facing competition from heavy hitters such as Cisco, HP, Brocade and Juniper, and smaller competitors like Riverbed and Swan Labs have also come out with new products in recent weeks.

The451 Group analyst Steve Coplan offered a downbeat assessment of Expand's chances in a report this week.

"Expand has not been able to significantly establish itself as something more than a compression appliance vendor," Coplan wrote. "Further funding might bail the company out long enough to attract an acquirer, at the very least on the basis of its installed base, but probably won't alter its fate as an independent vendor."

Pricing for the Accelerator 4920 Series remote branch devices starts at $4,495. The Accelerator 6910 Series devices for smaller regional data centers start at $11,995, and the enterprise-class Accelerator 6940 Series starts at $19,995. The products are currently in beta.

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