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WAN Accelerators Speed Up

A small but ambitious group of suppliers is tackling TCP/IP performance problems in wide-area networks (WANs). In the process, they're eyeing storage networks as prime prospects for their wares.

Leading the charge is Network Executive Software Inc. (NetEx), a spinoff of Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK). NetEx recently announced a WAN appliance geared specifically to speeding up storage traffic in WANs (see NetEx Hypers IP). The vendor also is rumored to be talking to one or more SAN suppliers about bundling its appliance with their gear.

NetEx may not be alone for long. Another WAN optimization player, Swan Labs Corp., is hoping to release versions of its Netcelera WAN optimizer appliance throughout 2005. According to CTO Youssri Helmy, the company hopes to start with an iSCSI storage traffic optimizer in the first quarter and follow it with optimizers for proprietary protocols from SAN vendors such as EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).

"The WAN is the weakest link in a SAN," Helmy says. When storage traffic is sent over the WAN, he notes, throughput decreases exponentially as distance increases.

There are other vendors active in storage WAN optimization. Peribit Networks Inc. has joined a range of storage vendors' partner programs to ensure interoperability (see Peribit Partners With Veritas, Carrier Access Revises Outlook, and Peribit Joins EMC NAS Program). Riverbed Technology Inc. has long claimed improvement to storage traffic performance on WANs as a selling point for its appliances.

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