Pushing the Limits of WANs

Expand and NetScaler are enhancing their WAN optimization offerings.

Two vendors this week will extend the upper reaches of their complementary WAN optimization and application acceleration offerings with new high-end units.

In the fast-growing WAN optimization market, forecast by some market researchers to double this year, Expand Networks Inc. will launch a more scalable version of its Accelerator line of WAN compression and optimization devices. In the application acceleration space, NetScaler Inc. is adding the new 9900 Secure Application Gateway and 9950 Secure Application Switch, designed to boost the performance of e-commerce sites that carry the heaviest traffic volumes.

Expand Networks new Accelerator System 9000 supports Gigabit Ethernet links in the data center, can reach aggregate speeds of up to 200M bps and can support up to 1,500 remote sites.

The system ships with two accelerator modules that each supports 50M-bps speeds; four accelerator modules can be installed in a single chassis. Expand Networks channel partners provide consulting services to determine the most appropriate configurations for customers and to preconfigure the appliance.

Accelerator System 9000 also includes the ExpandView traffic management program, which can discover and classify some 100 enterprise applications and detect and fix performance problems caused by degraded WAN links. It is available now for $64,995 from the Roseland, N.J., company.

Meanwhile, NetScaler scaled the high end of its secure application delivery systems with the new 9900 Secure Application Gateway and 9950 Secure Application Switch.

Both devices are intended for public e-commerce Web sites and large-enterprise Web installations. The Santa Clara, Calif., company found that its existing models could not keep pace with the traffic increases of some of its largest customers sites, such as Amazon.com, Google.com and Yahoo. com. Amazon.com, for example, experienced a 321 percent jump in traffic over the past four years.

The new gateway, which works alongside existing switches in a network, and the new switch run on 3GHz Xeon processors from Intel Corp. The 9900 Gateway provides SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and protection against distributed-denial-of-service attacks. It also supports intrusion protection and SSL VPNs and performs compression and TCP optimization. The 9950 Switch adds to those features load balancing, Layer 7 switching and cache redirection.

Those functions perform 150 percent to 300 percent faster on the new switch and gateway than in the existing 9800 line.

Pricing for the new switch starts at $55,000; gateway pricing begins at $90,000.