Expand Networks Caches Web Traffic

The traffic management specialist targets complex enterprise apps with its new data center and branch office accelerator.

Traffic management specialist Expand Networks Inc. will focus on application-specific performance with a new, more modular version of its data center and branch office accelerator.

The effort comes as users increasingly look to make more efficient use of expensive WAN links. The technology becomes especially important as enterprises become more distributed and deliver more complex applications to remote sites, said officials in Roseland, N.J.

Web applications can bog down WAN links with latency and packet-loss problems resulting from multiple DNS (Domain Name System) requests and the downloading of applets, officials said. Expand will employ what it calls "application-specific acceleration" to focus on an application and eliminate such response-time issues.

Initially, Expand will offer application-specific plug-ins for Web applications, homegrown portal Web services, software distribution for patches and anti-virus updates, and TCP acceleration. The rearchitected Accelerator Software 5 accepts plug-ins for HTTP-based Web applications, encrypted HTTPS (HTTP Secure) and DNS traffic, as well as plug-ins that optimize FTP and TCP traffic.

"Every time a user goes out and looks for something [on the Web], there is a DNS request. There are thousands of them. Caching them locally will keep a lot of [traffic] off the wire," said Expand user Clay Hemphill, network architect at Continental Airlines Inc., in Houston.

Expand also is caching HTTP and HTTPS traffic at the edge, with accelerators at both ends of the network, so that latency between the client and the application becomes the latency between the client and the accelerator, officials said.

The software runs on a new generation of Expand appliances for remote sites and data centers. A pair of new remote site appliances provides either a serial communications link or an IP link operating at up to 4M bps or 6M bps, respectively. Each supports 50 private virtual circuits. Pricing for the appliances starts at $4,495, and they are available now.

Two new data center appliances include an HTTPS Series appliance that accelerates encrypted traffic and supports up to 45M bps, or a high-end accelerator that can support up to 350 remote sites and 45M bps. Pricing for the HTTPS appliance starts at $28,995, and it is available now. The high-end Accelerator 6840 starts at $24,995 and is due in June.

The Accelerator Server for Linux gives users the option of running Expands optimization and traffic management software on a blade or standard server. It will be available in June with pricing starting at $3,495.

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