RealTime IT News

Packeteer Buys Caching Software Firm

Packeteer Inc. late Thursday bought privately-held software firm Workfire Technologies International Inc. for about $73 million in stock.

The Net security firm will exchange 2 million common shares for all of Workfire's outstanding common stock and options. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter and begin contributing to earnings by fiscal 2001.

Packeteer will inherit Workfire's software technology, which accelerates the transmission and rendering speed of Internet applications by compressing traffic and increasing the throughput of the low and medium speed connections via caching. Workfire prides itself on solving the "last mile" dilemma of low to medium speed Internet connections that is not addressed by today's reverse-proxy and network-based caching solutions.

Tom Taylor, founder and chief technology officer of Workfire, said his firm's application acceleration software represents the next technological wave for enhancing the performance of Web-based applications.

Workfire will continue to operate out of its facility in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, as Packeteer's Internet Acceleration Products group.

Packeteer made waves last month with the release of its bandwidth management solution PacketShaper, which prevents file-swapping programs such as Napster Inc. and Gnutella traffic from monopolizing their bandwidth capacity.

Plattsburgh State University in New York and St. John's University in Minnesota have deployed PacketShaper technology to control Napster bandwidth utilization over their WANs (wide-area networks) and the Internet.

"We didn't want to tell the students 'you can't access Napster' and yet we simply couldn't afford to have Napster eat up all our bandwidth and impact our other applications," said John Muggli, network manager of the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University of Minnesota.