WAN optimization vendor Expand Networks Inc., following the trend of melding application-performance optimization techniques in a single offering, next month will add support for moving WAFS and CIFS traffic across WAN links.
The wide-area file services and Common Internet File System support, which Expand addresses with new appliances that can accommodate hard disks for disk-based caching, is aimed at organizations looking to consolidate file servers in a central location. Although such projects can benefit the bottom line, users in remote locations without a local file server often experience significant response-time degradation.
"Web applications use chatty protocols like CIFS that [introduce] response-time problems. Were adding a full-scale WAFS solution to help enterprises overcome server-consolidation problems," said Ariel Shulman, vice president of product management at Expand, in Tel Aviv, Israel. CIFS is widely used in Microsoft Corp.s Windows-based applications such as PowerPoint, Excel and Word, Shulman said.
"The exciting application is that it can increase our performance for file sharing across the network," said Expand user Andy Ellsworth, network engineer at National Asset Recovery Services Inc., in Chesterfield, Mo. "With applications that use CIFS, unless you have local caching, there isnt much you can do to make it faster. This could have far-reaching implications [beyond] just faster file transfer. We can centralize our management, and that can make us more flexible."
The WAFS and CIFS plug-ins maintain a copy of commonly accessed files in a remote cache; implement system services at the remote site such as DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), DNS (Domain Name System), print and fax; and work with a centralized management tool that auto-configures monitors and reports on deployed Expand Accelerators.
Expand is adding three appliances to accommodate the WAFS and CIFS support. The Accelerator 4920, Accelerator 6910 and Accelerator 6940 support a range of WAN speeds and hard drive capacities, from 2M bps and 160GB to 20M bps and 400GB.
Users can deploy WAFS as a stand-alone option or integrated with Expands optimizations, including compression, protocol acceleration and Layer 7 QOS (quality of service).
Due next month, the accelerators with the WAFS and CIFS support range in price from $4,495 to $19,995.