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New products target branch office and data centre

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Expand Networks, a provider of application acceleration solutions over the Wide Area Network (WAN) and recently positioned in the Gartner’s Leaders Quadrant for WAN Optimisation Controllers 2006, has announced four new products in its Accelerator line hardware portfolio.

The Accelerator 4830 and 4930 are targeted for small offices and/or branch offices, and the Accelerator 6830 and 6930 are designed for regional offices.
Coming off the heels of the recent announcement of its Compass 6.1 platform, Expand Networks’ four new products will ship with newly added features offering top level reliability and flexibility for network applications: flow optimised TCP acceleration control, dynamic bandwidth adjust and Wide Area File Services (WAFS) transparency.
“Expand Networks is redefining a successful product line to keep up with the flow of data and IP traffic over the corporate networks,” says Brandon Rochat, sales director: Expand Networks Africa. “Consolidation in the branch office, server and data centre continues to grow across the globe.
"By enabling more flexible WAFS implementations and adding features such as self-adjusting TCP acceleration and dynamic bandwidth adjustment, we are offering our customers the most robust and scalable options for their networks. For our customers this means an increase in concurrent optimised TCP sessions which now, at the low end, sit at 64 000 for the 4830 and 4930, and up to 128 000 for the 6830 and 6930.
“According to industry research, the typical branch office user has anywhere from 10 – 30 sessions open at the same time,” adds Rochat. “By Expand Networks increasing the capabilities of the concurrent session, we are able to give our customers the opportunity to support more users who are working with intensive applications in a collaborative environment, no matter where they are located. So, from a cost perspective, we are providing a competitively priced device that supports real-life office requirements and day-to-day working scenarios.”
Ideal for the small office/branch office, the 4830 and 4930 offer application optimisation for those most prominently utilised in that business environment including Oracle, SAP, Exchange, Citrix, RDP, Double-Take, Maximo, Snap-Mirror, MIMIX, BAAN and all other IP-based applications. Both also offer compression, Quality of Service (QoS), protocol optimisation, security and encryption in a 1U dimension.
Additional specifications for the 4830/4930 include:
* WAN speed: 512Kbps – 6Mbps;
* Concurrent sessions: 64 000;
* Memory: 1GB;
* Connected accelerators: 100 to remote accelerators;
* Hard Drive (4930 only): 160GB; and
* Number of WAFS users for WAFS Support (4930 only): 200.
With more than 80% of all offices located away from the main corporate website, network latency is one of the biggest contributors to office time being squandered. Expand Networks designed its new products to specifically take this on.
In addition, Expand took notice of the primary requirements of industries such as government, federal offices, military and others that have regulations about storing data on hard drives for security reasons. The 4830 and 6830 do not come with hard drives and are ideal for deployment in these markets.
For regional offices, the Accelerators 6830 and 6930 also have the same functionality in WAN optimisation as the 4830/4930 offerings with compression and QoS, as well as optimising the same demanding applications.
“We did a lot of market research and polled our customers on their key priorities,” says Rochat. “The answers that kept coming back were that they required a multipoint solution that has the ability to handle many concurrent TCP sessions and could optimise almost any application and protocol. All four of our new products, which run on the Compass 6.1 Platform, address these requirements.”
Additional specifications for the 6830/6930 include:
* WAN speed: 2Mbps – 15Mbps;
* Concurrent sessions: 128,000;
* Memory: 2GB;
* Connected accelerators: 200 to remote accelerators;
* Hard drive (6930 only): 500 GB; and
*  Number of WAFS users for WAFS support (6930 only): 500.
Key benefits of the 6830 and the 6930 include Flow Optimised TCP Acceleration Control, which employs the Vegas-style control algorithms and monitors the real-time state of each flow of data. The algorithms tune the acceleration precisely to the optimal rate – never overloading the infrastructure. Consequently, this yields a consistent performance. The results are smooth and predictable flows with much fewer re-transmissions and a more reliable and efficient use of the entire infrastructure. Sectors that would realise this benefit include those deploying satellite, DSL/cable and internet/VPN and MPLS.
Dynamic bandwidth adjust is another differentiator for the lot. Traditionally, WAN Optimisation excels at mitigating congestion where the LAN and WAN meet, but what happens when there is congestion in the WAN cloud (satellite, internet, MPLS, etc.)?  Through a real-time feedback mechanism, Compass will automatically adjust the bandwidth it sends to the WAN when congestion in the cloud occurs.
This mechanism ensures the most reliable optimisation of all IP traffic at all times, and can also help in environments with multiple satellite links and backup links for disaster recovery.
Rounding off the top line features for the 4930 and 6930 is the ability for transparent WAFS. A visible benefit is that with virtual server architecture, Expand’s Compass Platform assumes the name of the branch file server (clients now effectively mapped to Compass) and WAFS optimisation takes place.
With transparent WAFS, clients already mapped to the central enterprise file server can also be optimised by Compass in the branch office without remapping. Compass is the only solution with the flexibility to be deployed both ways, and now ensures re-mapping clients is not needed.