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Remote Site Rapprochement

It's been established that WAFS and WAN optimization, two distinct ways of speeding up the delivery of data to remote sites, have lots in common (see WAFS vs WAN Optimization: No Contest). Now, it looks as though they'll soon live under the same roof.

Indeed, remote sites, a divisive force in corporate storage networks, are set to become the unifying platform for WAFS and WAN optimization. In the foreseeable future, the concept of separate gear for both functions will be pass. Instead, WAFS and WAN optimization will both be absorbed into routers, SAN switches, disk arrays, and even servers as checklist software features.

Skeptical? A glance at recent news heralds this coming scenario. For one thing, the handful of viable WAFS and WAN optimization companies are being quickly scapped up by large equipment vendors, and not for peanuts, either.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) started the trend by purchasing Actona, a WAFS vendor, for $82 million late last year (see Cisco Acts on Actona). Earlier this month, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) announced a funding alliance with WAFS vendor Tacit Networks Inc. (see Brocade Invests in Tacit). Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) then revealed an OEM deal with Riverbed Technology Inc., a startup claiming to have features of both WAN optimization and WAFS.

In case anyone needs further proof that big players want this stuff, Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) has committed $337 million to the purchase of Peribit Networks Inc., which makes WAN optimizers (see Peribit Deal: More to Come). That move set off flurries of speculation that Cisco was scouting for another optimization startup, which materialized in Cisco's May 26 announcement of a plan to buy FineGround Networks for $70 million (see Cisco Chomps FineGround).

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