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Andrew Foss, CEO, Swan Labs Corp.

What's the world's best transport for disaster recovery? Andrew Foss has one answer: "IP is absolutely the most cost-effective way to get bandwidth and connectivity across the globe. The price performance of networking and data transmission are is so much better in the IP space than anything else," he says. Fibre Channel? No comparison, per Foss.

But the CEO of Swan Labs Corp. also knows IP's Achilles heel -- poor performance. The packetized, asynchronous nature of the Internet Protocol stack has been a showstopper for many IT managers. They're paying handsomely for dedicated links to protect remote data. If disaster strikes, the thinking goes, paying a premium ensures reliable and fast restoral.

San Jose, Calif.-based Swan Labs thinks there's a market in enabling users to stick with IP. The Internet itself, Foss says, can be the conduit for reliable online backup and disaster recovery, even in synchronous mode. What's needed is technology that streamlines IP traffic on WAN links.

It's a credo that's catching on in the IT world, spurring an array of solutions from the likes of Network Executive Software Inc. (NetEx) and Peribit Networks Inc. (see WANs Shape Up for Storage).

According to Foss, Swan Labs distinguishes itself by combining WAN optimization and application acceleration. Its appliances use network-based techniques like compression and caching to reduce the profile of data that's replicated across IP links. (That's WAN optimization.) Software options, including ones the company acquired with the purchase of Pivia last year, cut down on repetition that's characteristic of specific applications like email or Web data. (Read: application acceleration.)

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