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Cisco, Juniper, And Others Take Aim At Speeding Up Applications

(Originally Posted on InformationWeek by J. Nicholas Hoover)

A year ago, the expected download time for a 5-Mbyte building design file at architectural firm Ghafari Associates' branch offices was about three minutes. Now it takes 50 seconds the first time a file is downloaded and about two seconds for subsequent downloads.

It's not a drastic increase in bandwidth that has speeded download times, but application acceleration devices that enhance protocol efficiency and file caching for quick access after the first download.

When the Interop Las Vegas 2006 conference kicks off this week, there will be a din of announcements involving application acceleration. At least nine companies will unveil products to coincide with the show. It's not surprising, given the growing demand: Gartner expects sales of app acceleration products to grow almost 50% this year, from $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion.

People want applications and information to get to them fast. After plummeting in the last few years, prices for bandwidth have leveled off, and fiber can be prohibitively expensive. Companies now are turning to application accelerators for cost-effective answers. "I haven't seen this much interest in a technology in a long time," says Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala. "Every IT manager I talk to is interested in speeding up applications somehow."

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