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Cisco Unveils WAN File Access Appliances

Cisco Systems has announced a new series of network appliances that simplify the management, and improve the security, of file-based data on the enterprise wide-area network (WAN).

The Cisco File Engine Series employs wide area file services (WAFS) technology to consolidate enterprise data in central file servers located in remote data centers. According to Cisco, WAFS allows users to access data at remote branch offices over the WAN at the speed and efficiency of local-area network connections, overcoming performance issues associated with the Common Internet File System and Network File System.

The solution is built on three components. Users deploy Cisco Edge File Engine appliance at each of their branch offices, replacing file and print services, to provide what the company calls near-LAN read and write access to remote files. Networked data centers are equipped with the Cisco Core File Engine, which processes WAN-optimized file requests from the Edge File Engines to one or more file servers re network attached storage (NAS) gateways. Management and monitoring is provided through the WAFS Central Manager.

According to Cisco, by consolidating remote branch-office file services and storage to a central location, enterprises, users will realize increased operational efficiency and reduce their total cost of ownership of networked file storage.

The first products resulting from Cisco's August acquisition of Actona Technologies, Inc., the File Engine Series appliances now available directly from the company or through a reseller, starting at $12,000 with a 50-user license. Additional 50-user license packs can be purchased for $4500.