Can Packeteer Build a ‘Branch Office Box’?

Packeteer  and Microsoft  are in agreement about market opportunities to help companies manage the data deluge hitting their branch offices. So they’re teaming up to gang up on the issue.

Packeteer today introduced the first iShaper appliance designed to speed up and secure data in the corporate office using native Microsoft application services.

Nicknamed the “Branch Office Box,” the newest entrant in the burgeoning market for wide-area network (WAN) optimization is designed to improve the performance of applications that deliver data, voice and video traffic in corporations.

Devices from competing vendors offer similar capabilities.

But Mark Urban, director of product marketing at Packeteer, said iShaper covers the gamut of requirements for piping application data across wide-area networks (WAN) , including monitoring, security acceleration and services. iShaper eliminates the need for point acceleration, security or monitoring machines by hosting those tools in one box.

Created for companies with branch offices supporting 50 or more users, the iShaper appliance uses intelligence to boost the performance of more than 600 applications and protocols.


iShaper speeds up and secures.

Source: Packeteer

Software in the box prioritizes and accelerates applications based on Common Internet File System (CIFS), FTP, TCP and HTTP applications without compromising data, voice and video traffic. The product also applies real-time compression for transactional traffic and disk-based byte caching for bulk applications.

iShaper also monitors the quality of voice calls with per call provisioning, and separates recreational video to give priority to business conferencing.

Data is served all while maintaining service levels of applications during peak periods, while providing protection from zero-day viruses and denial-of-service attacks.

iShaper also supports Microsoft’s Windows Server, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server and System Management Server (SMS), which provide application security, networking, patch management, file sharing and printing, said Bala Kasiviswanathan, director for Windows Server Branch and Storage Solutions at Microsoft.

Packeteer inherited Microsoft as a partner when it purchased Tacit Networks last year. Tacit had worked with Microsoft on its iShared appliances; now the two companies will co-engineer and market iShaper as a “Branch Office Box” to make computing faster and more secure for employees in branch offices.

“While iShared really started a trend toward consolidation, iShaper brings that next-generation of branch office consolidation and is focused on applications as an overlay to the packet and forwarding devices,” Urban said.

Expect collaboration from the two companies for future iShaper releases.

Available in the second quarter this year, iShaper starts at $11,000 for an appliance with up to 45 megabits per second throughput with 10 Mbps of accelerated traffic.

While Urban claims Packeteer is the first company to deliver an appliance that covers all the major bases in WAN optimization — namely application acceleration, security and services for souping up voice, video and data — the company faces stiff competition from several vendors, including Cisco Systems , Blue Coat  and Riverbed Technology .

Blue Coat, for example, recently added new security, clustering and failover capabilities to its operating systems software, and boosted its appliances’ ability to deliver live streaming video and video-on-demand content.

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