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Juniper Back in Web Acceleration Game

Juniper Networks (NASDAQ: JNPR) is reinvigorating its WAN acceleration product portfolio with a trio of new devices the company says will offer increased speeds and more modular form factors.

The WXC 1800, WXC 2600 and WXC 3400 Juniper appliances enter a market where competition continues to accelerate with new initiatives from competitors such as Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS), Blue Coat (NASDAQ: BCSI) and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO). At stake is a WAN optimization market that Infonetics Research predicts will be worth $1.2 billion by 2010.

"These solutions are becoming more and more mission critical, and just having single-sealed units isn't good enough for some customers," Tim Richards, senior product manager for Juniper WAN acceleration, told InternetNews.com "So having the modularity of components and infrastructure to be able to replace power supplies and replaceable component parts makes sense."

Richards explained that the new WXC WAN acceleration platforms are all part of Juniper's larger companywide initiative toward a common hardware platform.

By using common components, Juniper can achieve greater efficiencies in terms of development costs.

The company aims to drive down costs as far as end users as well, since they are more easily able to repair and enhance Juniper hardware.

One area that the new WXC series will not share in common with much of the Juniper portfolio is the underlying operating system. Juniper's base network OS that powers its routers and switching equipment is the JUNOS OS.

The WXC does not run JUNOS but instead runs the WX-OS operating system. P>With the new hardware update, Juniper has updated WX-OS to version 5.6, which is the first major upgrade since the WX-OS 5.5 version debuted in October of last year.

"We're on a six- to eight-month timeline on releases," Richards commented. "To be candid the WX-OS 5.6 release is really focused around the new hardware platforms making sure drivers work. There is not really a huge amount of feature updates on that."

When asked by InternetNews.com whether the WXC product line would be moving to the JUNOS operating system, Richards declined to get into specifics, but said,

"From our perspective, we're not diverging from the corporate message," Richards said. On a corporate level, Juniper has publicly stated its intention to standardize all of this hardware on JUNOS.

Next page: Competition in WAN acceleration