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Packeteer Gets Microsoft Push

Packeteer has unified its WAN optimization appliances with Microsoft application support for remote offices, in a move that raises questions about what's essential in a WAN optimizer -- and what is merely nice to have. (See Microsoft, Packeteer Intro iShaper.)

The new iShaper appliance weds Packeteer's appliance-based PacketShaper WAN optimizers with the capabilities of its iShared file services software, which is based in part on the vendor's May 2006 acquisition of Tacit for $78 million. (See Packeteer Picks Tacit.) The result is an $11,000 box that improves bandwidth utilization while delivering branch-office support.

In an added twist, Packeteer boasts a partnership with Microsoft to enhance the iShaper's ability to handle voice and video, application quality of service, DNS and DHCP, and "native" support of Microsoft services above and beyond the file and print caching common to many WAN optimizers.

Yet the question remains whether iShaper really adds a deeper level of Microsoft support than other optimizers provide.

"From my perspective, we feel we are bringing new services into the branch. This product is available now, and it's a good extension of what was missing for customers," says Bala Kasiviswanathan, director, Windows Server Branch and Storage Solutions at Microsoft.

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