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A New Look at WAFS

2:15 PM -- It's been several years since wide area file services (WAFS) first helped speed the delivery of files to remote offices. And like other technologies -- data de-duplication, CDP, and data compression come to mind -- it's evolved predictably. What began as a startup novelty is now a less visible, but no less vital, part of big-player data center wares.

WAFS is among IT's best supporting actors, as it were. You're most likely to hear about WAFS as part another kind of product, like a router or WAN optimizer.

"WAFS as a functionality type is growing, not shrinking. However, it is being contextualized with other WAN optimization approaches. This is why all of the WAFS vendors have been acquired, including Tacit by Packeteer," writes analyst Brad O'Neill of the Taneja Group consultancy in an email message.

So why is Brocade offering WAFS in a package you can add to any old Windows server? (See Brocade & Packeteer Widen Target.)

At over $15,000, the software-only version of Brocade's Tapestry WAFS (OEM'd from Packeteer) is probably destined for OEMs and VARs. But what will they do with it?

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