Expand Networks on March 5 will hit a significant milestone in its attempt to carve out a niche as the application acceleration OEM provider to larger networking companies when it announces a multi-year deal with Huawei-3Com.
The joint Huawei-3Com venture intends to embed Expand Networks Compass platform for WAN optimization and application acceleration into a new line of products the company intends to introduce to the market in the next several months.
Although the lions share of the market for WAN optimization and application acceleration to date has been for appliance-based form factors, market researcher Gartner expects that to change, according to Joe Skorupa, industry analyst in Fremont, Calif.
In 2006 the market for integrated offerings "was about $4.5 million," but that number is forecast to jump to $77 million for 2007, and it will grow to about $250 million in 2008, Skorupa said. The overall market for WAN optimization is expected to grow from $600 million to $1.2 billion over the next two years.
"This allows us to address a very fast-growing, emerging market for WAN optimization being embedded in routers and other networking devices," said Christopher Williams, chief marketing officer for Expand in Roseland, N.J.
Expand Networks in 2006 launched its Compass platform, which is more easily portable to other hardware platforms. It uses a hardened Linux kernel, and it allows partners to select the features they want to use.
"Whats equally significant with this announcement is that weve been able to take our technology and decouple it from the underlying hardware appliance. Huawei-3Com is our first effort to do that," said Williams.
"Having the kind of architecture that lets us do that more easily than others allows us to go to leading hardware providers like Huawei-3Com and allows them to embed this technology in their hardware," he added.
Williams would not say what Huawei-3Com products would embed the Expand Compass platform, but they will be a part of the joint ventures iMC (intelligent Management Center) product line.
Gartners Skorupa said the first implementations will likely be in Huawei-3Com branch office routers.
Williams left the door open to other OEM deals, but would not specify which vendors they are working with.
3Com in late 2006 signed an agreement to take full ownership of the joint venture, although the agreement has not yet been completed.