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WAN-optimization market continues to shrink

Expand, Packeteer each to buy a competitor.

By , Network World
May 15, 2006 12:01 AM ET

Network World - Customer choice in the WAN-acceleration area keeps getting smaller. The trend continued last week, as Expand and Packeteer each announced they will snap up another competitor.

Expand Networks says it is buying DiskSites, a company that makes wide-area file services-enhancing gear and with which Expand already had a reselling agreement.

The purchase means Expand customers can buy combined Expand/DiskSites products at half the price they would be charged under the OEM agreement, says Expand President Amir Chitayat.

For its part, Packeteer is buying Tacit Networks' Ishared appliances to add server consolidation technology to Packeteer's PacketShaper WAN-optimization products.

Over time, Packeteer says it will make new hardware to support both PacketShaper and Ishared software so customers can buy one box and upgrade it as needed.

These purchases are an effort to catch up with other WAN-acceleration vendors that offer more features, says Rob Whiteley, an analyst with Forrester Research. He says Riverbed has the best collection of features and that others are trying to keep pace. Competitors include Certeon, Cisco, Citrix, Juniper, Orbital Data, Silver Peak and Streamcore. Four other companies that sold such products were bought out in the past year (see below).

WAN-acceleration consolidation
Companies that make appliances to speed up transactions over wide-area networks have been gobbling each other up in an effort to get a complete set of features.
Juniper buys Peribit for $337 million April 2005
Juniper buys Redline for $132 million April 2005
Citrix buys NetScaler for $300 million June 2005
F5 Networks buys Swan Labs for $43 million September 2005
Packeteer buys Tacit Networks for $78 million May 2006
Expand Networks to buy DiskSites for an undisclosed amount Pending
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