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Riverbed Eases WAN Transmission Requirements

Traffic flowing between remote locations can chew up bandwidth and raise a small and medium sized businesss telecommunications costs. WAN optimization tools have the potential to ease those burdens.Riverbed Technology Inc. has carved out a growing niche by delivering products that make it easier for companies to transmit large amounts of information from site to site. The company recently enhanced its Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS), which powers the Riverbed Steelhead WAN optimization product line. The product now optimizes transmissions for Microsoft Exchange 2007  it had already worked with Microsoft Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003. In addition, Riverbed improved the performance of various Web applications, including SAPs NetWeaver; Oracles Oracle 11, PeopleSoft/JD Edwards, and Siebel Customer Relationship Management; and Microsofts SharePoint and Outlook Web Access.

The new application accelerator features the RiOS Services Platform (RSP), which enables companies to deliver virtualized edge services to remote locations without deploying additional branch office servers. RSP also features an enhanced Graphic User Interface and role-based application administration, which enables companies to set user access policies. Network technicians can set WAN traffic policies by IP address and port or by port only.

WAN optimization products have been popular with organizations with multiple remote locations and complex document needs, such as engineering and consulting firms. These devices come with high price tags, usually starting at $10,000 and sometimes exceeding $100,000. Companies with high priced, high bandwidth connections between locations can justify such purchases because the products can dramatically reduce their bandwidth requirements, lowering their monthly changes by 10% to as much as much as 70%. Small and medium sized companies with minimal traffic moving among remote locations may not find the products as attractive.

Do you have high-speed, high priced connections between your main locations? Have you thought about deploying a WAN optimization solution? What do you see as the pluses and minuses of these products?