Packeteer Accelerates Web Traffic

PacketShaper Xpress uses compression technology to give critical apps more bandwidth.

Traffic shaping veteran Packeteer Inc. on Monday will branch out into compression when it launches its new PacketShaper Xpress.

The Cupertino, Calif., bandwidth management company leveraged compression and Web acceleration expertise it gained with its acquisition of Workfire Technologies International Inc. in 2000 to create a universal traffic acceleration offering.

PacketShaper Xpress combines Layer 7 classification, traffic shaping and application-intelligent acceleration to help users get the most efficiency out of their expensive WAN links and to ensure that mission-critical applications get the bandwidth they need.

As more and more non-mission critical Web traffic traverses corporate networks, the need for such tools will only grow—especially in the face of predicted pricing increases for already costly WAN connectivity, said Packeteer President and CEO Dave Cote.

"The use of compression technology represents a nice starting point coupled with basic policies in our shaping technologies to give people additional virtual bandwidth for applications that matter, rather than just delivering compression. The combination of shaping technology to set priorities or minimize unwanted traffic, combined with acceleration, makes for a better solution for overall application performance," he said.

As performance issues arise for applications traversing WAN links, most companies typically "throw bandwidth at the problem," said Lawrence Orans, industry analyst at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn.

But with the rise of Web surfing and peer-to-peer file sharing as well as predicted price increases of 7 percent a year for the next few years—according to Gartner—that solution will likely see much greater resistance.

Cote said Packeteers new compression technology is unique in that it uses different algorithms for different applications. "Today you have voice traffic thats already compressed, Web traffic with some files compressed and some not. We believe you need different forms of compression and intelligence not to compress other traffic thats already been compressed. We do it based on a more intelligent application architecture and enable different compression algorithms for different types of traffic, and we dont compress traffic that doesnt lend itself to that or is already compressed," he said.

The integration of traffic classification and shaping with compression represents a logical consolidation of functions, Gartners Orans said.

"Up until now weve seen point products where you have a box for compression, a box for traffic shaping. Users dont want a whole conga line of boxes at the branch office," he said.

PacketShaper Xpress, a software add-on to the line of PacketShaper bandwidth management tools, on average saves about two to three times the amount of bandwidth used by uncompressed applications traffic, Cote said.

The Xpress option, due in March, will range in price from about $1,000 to $9,000, depending on the configuration.