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Riverbed Scores $20M

Riverbed Technology Inc., which makes wide-area file services (WAFS) appliances, announced $20 million in third-round funding today, bringing its total to $38 million (see Riverbed Gets $20M More).

The news highlights growing interest in WAFS products and vendors, which deploy caching and other mechanisms to overcome lags encountered when sending files to remote sites using traditional file protocols, such as NFS for Unix and CIFS for Windows. Players include DiskSites Inc., Signiant Corp., Tacit Networks Inc., and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), thanks to its acquisition of Actona for $82 million last year (see Cisco Acts on Actona).

Notably, Cisco's WAFS product is a major factor in Cisco's alliance with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), also announced today (see Cisco & EMC Close NAS Deal).

For its part, San Francisco-based Riverbed is confident its launch in the WAFS arena will continue to gain momentum. CEO Jerry M. Kennelly, formerly an executive VP at Inktomi Corp. (Nasdaq: INKT), says that since shipping started eight months ago, Riverbed has gained 72 paying customers, who are using over 500 of its Steelhead units. Another 100 customers are in trials with the vendor's WAFS kit.

Riverbed's customer ramp-up includes firms with lots of large files to move, including engineering and architectural firms, as well as manufacturers (see Riverbed Claims 30 Customers ). Kennelly claims Steelhead can go beyond streamlining files alone, and can also work with email, streaming data, and Web traffic -- a broader range of data-handling capabilities than other WAFS gear, the CEO says.

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