The new software platform, called WANSyncCD, takes the Burlington, Mass., companys product suite a step further by offering several productivity enhancements that allow users to distribute and synchronize content throughout the organization in an intelligent manner. Most importantly, users can specify the type of files they want distributed, and the software does the rest. A user could specify, for example, that all JPEG files be sent to a file server in Houston and all Microsoft Excel documents be sent to London, explained Eric Jackson, XOsofts vice president of products.
The software accomplishes this goal through the use of continuous replication technology, which makes changes in real time across platforms. The effect, Jackson said, is a more automatic and easier-to-use system.
"Its something every distributed organization has to do, but in many cases they have been using in-house methods, some manual and some partially automated," he said. "Keeping information in sync across the global enterprise at reasonable cost and with reasonable efficiency is a fairly significant productivity enhancement for many organizations."
One of the products most interesting functions is its ability to perform bandwidth throttling—the ability to specify how much information should go through a particular pipe at a specific time of day. If the morning is particularly busy, for example, the company could specify that less content passes through at that time.
Another important feature is its advanced tree topology architecture, which improves on traditional tree topologies by adding flexibility.
"Instead of just being able to push content from the center to the outer limits of an organization, it also can collect content from the periphery, such as branch offices, and consolidate it at a central point for backup or other reasons," Jackson explained.
The products advanced tree topology architecture is an important advancement over traditional content distribution products, said Michelle Zou, a research analyst at IDC.
"With traditional content distribution, you can send information from the central office to branch offices or reverse the process, but with this, the branch offices can talk to each other and if one of the links is filled, the servers can just find another link," she said.
In large part, XOsoft executives chose to enhance its product at the request of customers, many of whom had already taken the initiative and had begun using WANSync for productivity enhancement purposes, Jackson said.
"A few of our customers have been using the technology to distribute content within the organization as well as externally, so weve decided that were going to support that request on the part of our customers," he said. "So instead of just being in the protection business, were really moving into productivity enhancement and value creation."
Although its far too early to determine whether XOsoft can make good on its promises, the features WANSyncCD offers help sets it apart from the rest of the nascent content-aware and continuous data protection arena, said Rhoda Phillips, research manager for storage software at IDC, in Framingham, Mass. So far, only RepliWeb Inc., of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., which offers peer-to-peer, many-to-one and one-to-many file replication, file synchronization and file distribution, comes close, she noted.
"Its an evolving market, and the major players are still figuring out whether they want to get a piece of it," she said.