Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Watch Out for WAFS

A handful of vendors say life is good if you're into WAFS -- wide-area file services. But even as fresh funding, new partners, and acquisition prospects emerge, challenges remain and competition's getting tougher.

WAFS suppliers aim to overcome lags encountered when sending files to remote sites using traditional file protocols, such as NFS for Unix and CIFS for Windows. They offer specialized software that deploys caching and other mechanisms to centralize files and offer bidirectional access (read/write) to multiple remote sites.

The roster of players includes Actona Technologies Inc., Riverbed Technology Inc., Signiant Corp., and Tacit Networks Inc., who say business is booming.

All have news:

  • Actona just got $10 million in new funding, bringing its total to $23 million (see Actona Attracts Additional $10M). The company plans to release additions to its ActaStor file caching appliances and make its first partnership announcement "shortly," according to VP of marketing John Henze.
  • Riverbed, which started life as NBT Technology Inc. (see NBT Technology), plans to release its Steelhead "WAN optimization appliances" later this month. Riverbed got $10 million in Series B funding in January, bringing total funding to $16.6 million.
  • Signiant, which spun out of Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) as an application service provider (ASP) in 2000 but subsequently became a product-peddler, is planning to unveil a new release of its Mobilize file sharing software in early May. Also set for announcement is a series of specialized applications that will add backup, archiving, and inventory to the basic Mobilize functions.
  • Tacit is closing its Series B round within the next couple of weeks, for an amount "great than" its original $7.3 million (see Tacit Makes Funding Explicit), according to VP of marketing Noah Breslow. The company, which has 38 employees and claims 17 customers, also is at work on products that incorporate features of AttachStor, whose intellectual property and patents Tacit bought in March 2004 (see Tacit Attaches Patent Portfolio). The result, a product that caches email attachments, is planned for 2005.

The above are by no means the only players in this space. One vendor, DiskSites Inc., seemed to have fallen below the radar, but it's set to re-emerge under a new name and identity within the next couple of weeks, according to a spokesman. The new company will compete with other WAFS startups but have a slightly broader charter.

  • 1