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WAN Acceleration & WAFS Take New Turn

A whole raft of recent announcements underlines the growing importance of WAFS and WAN acceleration to data management -- a trend driven, at least in part, by social networking, Web 2.0, entertainment applications, and the current boom in software-as-a-service (SaaS).

With the likes of Facebook and YouTube now part of daily life, there is a growing need for technologies that can speed up applications over the WAN, according to Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Bowker.

"The growth that we're really seeing is around files. It's Word documents, PowerPoints, video files, audio files -- a lot of it is Web 2.0 stuff," Bowker says. "These Web 2.0 companies consume a lot of [network] capacity. Look at the amount of data that gets dumped on Facebook."

Users at the sharp end of providing online services to multiple customers are only too aware of this challenge. "Things like WAN acceleration are areas where I see placing a lot of focus as time moves forward," says Stephen O'Neill, vice president of technology at search engine specialist Oversee.net. "With the cost of bandwidth now, if I run a WAN acceleration product, I get more bang per buck across my dedicated wires."

With end-users also expecting split-second response times for Web 2.0 applications, vendors are eyeing opportunities in this space. Here's a sampling of recent announcements about WAFS and WAN acceleration that highlight the sector's growth:

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