Expand Networks Lowers WAN Optimization Costs

The WAN optimization pioneer last week did its part to goose the growth of the nascent market with a pair of new appliances that lower the cost of entry for end users.

WAN optimization pioneer Expand Networks Inc. last week did its part to goose the growth of the nascent market with a pair of new appliances that lower the cost of entry for end users.

With the market heating up and a greater sales volumes, the Roseland, N.J., company was able to reduce by more than half the entry price for boosting available bandwidth for remote locations, according to Ariel Shulman, vice president of business development in Roseland. An appliance is required at each end of a WAN connection.

The new Accelerator 4810, priced at $3,995 and with an entry WAN speed of 256Kbsp, boosts the performance of WAN links at remote locations such as branch offices or retail locations. Expands existing remote appliance is $10,995 starting at a 2Mbps line rate.

"The same hardware can support six (megabits per second) of traffic, so that when you want to upgrade, you just need to purchase a license upgrade, he said.

For data centers, Expand added the new Accelerator 6810, which lowers the starting price to $14,995 and the entry WAN link speed to 2 Mbps. Its predecessor started at 10 Mbps for $29,995.

"The idea is to enable customers to start with lower end boxes for the data center and have an upgrade path," said Shulman. Customers can upgrade the Accelerator 6810 to support up to 45 Mbps WAN rates. It supports Gigabit Ethernet, includes redundant power suppliers and is capable of supporting up to 100 remote sites in a hub and spoke configuration.

Expand was able to lower the costs thanks to new economies of scale achieved through a greater sales volume, he claimed.

One early customer working with the new Accelerators was able to increase WAN throughput by four or five times, according to Dave Steinle, systems management team leader at OReilly Auto Parts Inc. in Springfield, Mo.

"We had a 12 (Mbps) pipe between our corporate computers in Springfield and a disaster recovery center in Dallas (Texas) that we were maxing out. (With the Accelerators) we were able to reduce that to (a 6 Mbps pipe) and reduce utilization from 100 percent of 12 meg down to 60 or 70 percent of 6 meg," he said.

Steinle believes the lower cost of the appliances will make a big difference in the second phase of OReillys rollout, which calls for installation of the appliances at 11 distribution centers.

Expand Networks is competing with a growing number of small players in the WAN optimization space, including Peribit Networks Inc., Packeteer Inc. and ITWorx Inc. Market researcher NetsEdge Research Group of Los Altos, Calif. projects that the market will grow to ship just under 40,000 units per year in 2005, from between 4500 to 5000 last year.

Also released with the new Accelerator appliances is a new software release that provides a simpler Web interface and configuration wizard to streamline installation.

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