Exinda WAN Optimization Challenges Incumbents

A new firmware release brings competitive features to a lower-cost set of WAN optimization and application acceleration appliances.

Exinda Networks on April 2 will bring new pricing pressure to bear on larger competitors in the WAN optimization space with the launch of a redesigned version of its lower-priced appliances.

Exinda's 2800, 4800 and 6800 appliances provide a mix of WAN optimization, application acceleration and application visibility over WAN connections. The Version 5.0 firmware adds stream-based caching to boost the performance of centralized applications accessed from remote sites.

"Stream-based caching lets us represent bigger bytes of data with a single token to make it faster and more efficient. Overall gains include better response times on applications and improvements in WAN capacity," said Exinda CEO Con Nikolouzakis.

Exinda's differencing technique, dubbed hybrid WAN memory, finds repetitive patterns from frequently accessed files and stores repetitive data locally. The stream-based caching technique provides 35 percent faster rates on data not previously cached, and is four times faster for cached data on small networks or interactive data, and 35 times faster in larger networks, Nikolouzakis said.

That means existing customer GEI Consultants, an engineering firm, can now consider centralizing its file servers rather than maintaining file servers in different offices, said GEI Consultants CIO Ray Barry.

"If we centralize files, they'll come out of the data center frequently and we'll be able to take advantage of the caching. I welcome that as an additional feature," Barry said.

Autodiscover the "other boxes"

GEI initially went with Exinda after evaluating others such as Riverbed Technology and Packeteer, because of Exinda's support for Novell environments, and because Exinda was a better value, Barry said.

"I've been very happy with Exinda's price points. With them I feel I'm not paying a premium for marketing. They put money into R&D. I'd rather know we're paying for the hardware and functionality we need at a rate we can afford," he said.

Click here to read about Exinda's Service Point Delivery SAAS for managing its WAN optimization appliances.

Exinda also sought to simplify configuration for customers scaling the size of their deployments, by adding autodiscovery. "You don't need to set up a central server or point devices to each other. You can plug a box into the network and it will autodiscover all of the other boxes and start to accelerate to them," Nikolouzakis said. The devices use a default configuration setting that addresses "90 percent of the environments out there," he added.

Other new features in Version 5.0 of the firmware include compact flash memory on the appliances that supplements disk storage, and support for new management interfaces including a command-line interface and SNMP. The new SNMP Management Information Base in the appliances allows them to be managed via existing network management systems such as Hewlett-Packard's OpenView or IBM Tivoli Netcool.

The new firmware is available now.