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Cisco Reaches for the Remote

Cisco Systems on Tuesday unveiled an integrated branch office solution that combines WAN optimization, application acceleration and wide area file services (WAFS) in a single offering.

The release adds Cisco to the growing list of vendors like Riverbed that are combining WAFS with WAN optimization and acceleration, a market dubbed wide area data services (WADS).

Cisco calls its offering wide area application services (WAAS), with optimization and acceleration developed in-house as "broad extensions" to its Actona WAFS technology, according to Mark Weiner, Cisco's director of marketing for application solutions. Some of Cisco's application performance management technology also came from its acquisition of FineGround.

Weiner said Cisco has seen a "huge groundswell of interest in this area. Branch office demand is real."

Cisco said its WAAS offering gives enterprises an easy way to consolidate distributed branch servers, storage and backup infrastructure while ensuring high application performance for end users. It transparently integrates into enterprise networks to extend the benefits of a Cisco WAN infrastructure, the company says.

It's available as a standalone appliance, and there's also a network module for running WAAS software on the Cisco integrated services router (ISR).

Kazu Yozawa, vice president of NTT Communications' IT management service division, said his company tested Cisco's WAAS offering in its labs and "saw significant productivity gains, which will allow us to provide more satisfactory network solutions to our customers."

Cisco's WAAS solution speeds applications through features such as compression, redundancy elimination, transport optimization, caching and content distribution.

The branch office solution combined with Cisco Application Networking Services can scale to support thousands of branch offices and millions of TCP connections, with up to 16 gigabits per second performance in a fully scaled, load-balanced deployment, Cisco says.

Pricing for Cisco's WAAS appliance starts at $8,500 and is available now. The network module solution will be available later this year starting at $4,000.

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