Cisco Makes Strides in Network Optimization Space

Cisco Systems is launching a family of Web-app accelerator appliances as part of a new business unit.

Cisco Systems Inc. last week made its biggest play yet in the application acceleration/WAN optimization market with the launch of new offerings for the branch office and data center and the formation of a new business unit.

Cisco, four months after its acquisition of FineGround Networks Inc., created the Application Delivery Business Unit, headed by George Kurian, vice president and general manager.

Along with the unit, Cisco will launch the data-center-based AVS (Application Velocity System) appliances—rebranded versions of FineGrounds offerings tested to interoperate with Ciscos Catalyst 6000 switch, its load balancers and application acceleration products.

The new appliances, AVS 3180 and AVS 3120, accelerate and optimize HTML- or XML-based applications over HTTP or HTTPS (HTTP Secure). They are fully supported by Cisco and offer integrated monitoring and application firewall functions.

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Cisco also combined its separate content caching and WAFS (wide-area file services) offerings onto a single hardware platform and within a common software architecture in its WAE (Wide-Area Application Engine) for branch offices.

The new WAE, available on a family of appliances including the WAE-511, WAE-611 and WAE-7326, provides caching and application protocol optimization across a range of protocols beyond just Windows CIFS (Common Internet File System) and NFS (Network File System).

The offerings are the beginning of new integrated functionality in the convergence of security and performance optimization that the new Cisco business unit will pursue.

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"The more work they do, the more expensive the product. Its a trade-off," said Phil St. Ores, director of IT at TSI Inc., in Shoreview, Minn. But when it comes to integrating security, "if they can pull it off without being too expensive or redundant to the security WAN layer, it wouldnt be a bad thing," Ores added.

The new AVS and WAE offerings are available now.

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