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Citrix Widens WAN Strategy

As the boundary between Wide Area File Services (WAFS) and WAN optimization continues to blur, Citrix today took the wraps off new WAN offerings, providing a hint of things to come from its Microsoft partnership.

The vendor, which recently teamed up with Microsoft to build combined WAFS/WAN devices, unveiled two new high-end WAN products built on technology from its million Orbital Data acquisition. (See Citrix Grabs Orbital Data and Cisco Announces Interoperabilities.)

Last month Citrix and Microsoft announced a deal to develop a "new type of branch office appliance" combining its WANScaler technology with Microsoft's ISA Server and Windows Server 2003 R2. (See Intriguing Equation and Microsoft, Citrix Expand.)

The WANScaler 8500 and 8800, launched today, are the first Citrix WAN optimization products with built-in disk storage, a technology likely to feature in the Microsoft partnership. By storing large amounts of data using a technique called delta-based compression, users don't need to send large chunks of data across the WAN.

Citrix's previous high-end offering, the 6000, stored a limited amount of compressed data in its system memory, according to Greg Smith, the vendor's director of product marketing. But the 2U 8800 and 1U 8500 can store nearly 1 Tbyte and 250 Gbytes respectively, compared to the 6000's 4 Gbytes.

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