Tacit Networks to Offer WAN Optimization to SOHO

Following Orbital Data's similar offering, Tacit plans to provide application acceleration and backup services to small offices with its Ishared Mini.

On the heels of Orbital Datas early foray into WAN optimization and application acceleration for individual desktops, Tacit Networks on Tuesday took its own stab at extending the technology to small office and home office users.

Drawing on its history as a WAFS (wide-area file services) company, Tacit Networks will include different functionality with its new Ishared Mini appliance, which provides up to five users with access to remote file, print and e-mail servers, functions as a domain controller, and delivers DNS (Domain Name System)/DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) services.

At the same time, Tacit Networks announced its acquisition of Mobiliti Inc., a privately held Edison, N.J., company that provides virtual networking, backup and synchronization, and WAN optimization software for Windows desktops.

The Mobiliti Network/Unplugged Windows-based software automatically saves and synchronizes data from laptops and desktops over a network connection.

It uses patented file compression and differencing techniques that are transparent to the end user, and it provides cached access to files on a remote file server while the user is offline without requiring changes to mapped drives or folders.

Both Orbital Data, with its client software-based approach, and Tacit Networks, with its Ishared Mini and new Mobiliti offerings, are addressing the broad drive to consolidate IT services into centralized data centers.

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"Enterprise IT is now being driven by compliance and corporate governance to get a handle on the data outside the data center. This class of technology helps centralize corporate IT assets to reduce risk, cost and complexity," said Brian Garrett, industry analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass.

"I think its neat were seeing a convergence of technologies and types of companies interested in bringing services to remote branch offices. It started with WAFS, but it is being extended to serve up applications to centralize remote IT management," he added.

The Ishared Mini appliance lowers the cost of WAN optimization and application acceleration for branch offices with up to five users to a $4,000 price point.

Existing offerings are more costly and have been aimed at branch offices with 15 to 100 users, according to Chuck Foley, president of Tacit Networks in South Plainfield, N.J. It is a smaller version of the companys existing enterprise-class Ishared appliance, which provides file, e-mail, Web caching, printing, networking and management functions for larger branch offices.

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The appliance is due at the end of the first quarter and includes an 80GB disk, up to 2GB of memory and dual NIC (network interface card) ports.

The Mobiliti client/server software, which to date has 450 customers and 100,000 users, provides a network file virtualization engine, backup and synchronization, compression, latency reduction, and file differencing.

Tacit Networks said it intends to integrate Mobilitis write monitor differencing into its appliances in the second quarter, and to add WAFS functions to the Mobiliti software in the fourth quarter of this year.

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