More Thoughts on WAFS

The vehicle doesn't matter, says Gartner guru

December 16, 2006

2 Min Read
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12:25 PM -- No sooner had my latest story on WAFS been posted, than I heard from a source I'd phoned earlier -- Gartner research director Joe Skorupa. (See Brocade & Packeteer Widen Target.)

He disagrees with the view that Brocade's latest Tapestry WAFS kit is for OEMs. He thinks end users are clamoring for software-only solutions.

Customers who are already consolidating branch office hardware, he insists, may have leftover servers that can be rejiggered as WAFS and/or WAN optimization units. (Gartner's term is WAN optimization controllers.)

"We've talked to many users who say it's more painful to install software on a router than it is to deploy a separate appliance," he insists.

And he says the kind of hardware platform underneath -- be it router or appliance or simple server -- just doesn't matter that much. "These products are at least 99 percent software value."Curious to know what Riverbed thinks of this view, I shot off an email. Will Riverbed be releasing a software-only version of its wares anytime soon?

Here's the reply from Riverbed's VP of product marketing, Alan Saldich:

"With over 1000 customers, Riverbed has more experience with the WDS market than any other vendor. There is no doubt that the overwhelming percentage of enterprise customers want an appliance in the branch, not a Windows server-based product -- the whole point of WDS appliances for many customers is to eliminate servers from branch offices, so replacing a server with another server is not appealing. Branch offices have little to no IT support, which means that a server-based solution is much more expensive and harder to manage in the long run. In addition to the customer complexity, building a software-based solution (to go on commodity servers) introduces a complex array of hardware, disk, driver, OS and other variables which makes it harder for the customer and harder for the vendor.

I'll take that as a "no," Alan.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • Riverbed Technology Inc.0

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