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Coyote Point Brings Next-Gen Networking to Life with Innovative Appliances

When it comes to WAN optimization and application acceleration solutions, big-name vendors such as F5 Networks, Riverbed, Blue Coat and Barracuda normally get all the press. After all, squeezing maximum performance out of a WAN and its associated applications has quickly become job No. 1 for most network managers. However, smaller vendors are striving to one-up the big names with new connectivity methodologies and technical advancements.

Case in point is Coyote Point, which for 12 years has been delivering appliances that help improve application and WAN performance. Although Coyote Point is one of the lesser-known entities in the realm of application acceleration and WAN optimization solutions, the company is ready to take on the big names with its latest platform, EQ/OS10. Although EQ/OS10 is referred to as a platform, in reality it's the core operating system and applications for the company's Equalizer series of appliances. The changes and enhancements are so significant that EQ/OS10 pretty much reinvents what a Coyote Point appliance can achieve in the enterprise, and is much more than just another release of the company's core software. Coyote Point's latest deserves a fresh look.

I recently visited Coyote Point's Millerton, N.Y., offices to set up a couple of the company's appliances for testing. The devices I tested included a Coyote Point E350GX, as well as the company's Equalizer OnDemand virtual appliance. I put both units (virtual and physical) through their paces and focused on the new capabilities offered.

I found ease of use a major theme throughout the product. All of the major features of the product can be configured directly from the management GUI, eliminating the need to use a CLI to configure the device. While many vendors in this space offer GUIs, most still require interfacing with a CLI for some basic setup chores. For example, Layer 7 application traffic management can be quickly defined and include criteria ranging from simple to complex. Rules can be built to identify and appropriately route things like HTTP and SSL versions, type of browser, URL path names, file names, extensions and cookie data. In short, L7 routing lets administrators create flexible cluster configurations by specifying rules that direct traffic to servers.

I tested Coyote Point's equalizer series of products about two years ago, and the new devices have significant enhancements. First and foremost is the support for IPv6. Some older versions also offered IPv6 support, but EQ/OS10 adds some major enhancements. For example, the company's appliances allow you to transform and migrate IPv6 networks--you can attach IPv4 networks to IPv6 networks and acts as the go-between, translating addresses as needed and handling all of the heavy lifting associated with IPv6 routing. What's more, it's very easy to set up, thanks to a wizard-driven model that let me almost instantly define the required elements for access to IPv6 content.

IPv6 simplicity is further enhanced by the device's use of VLANs to define server access and cluster memberships. It's a rather simple paradigm: Administrators create IPv6 subnets and then assign those subnets to server clusters and failover clusters. Coyote Point offers global IPv6 support using 6in4 tunnel technology, which is provided by Hurricane Electric to route IPv6 traffic over IPv4 networks. That proves very handy if a company's ISP or carrier does not offer native IPv6 support.

Another improvement is the way the device handles servers and other networking components. You can now organize devices into groups. Each networking component is treated as an object, which can then be placed into groups--even multiple groups. That proves to be a simple concept, where a physical server needs to be defined only once and can then be assigned to multiple server pools with drag-and-drop simplicity.

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