Optimizing the big links

* Exinda Networks eyes new markets

The range of network optimization technologies available is enormous - and daunting when you consider that an appliance tuned for accelerating, say, SAP application delivery to remote office employees is very different from one designed to optimize high-speed data replication processes between data centers. Companies have different needs, and vendors are working to fill out their product lines to make sure they've got a product for what each enterprise wants for its different settings.

To round out its product portfolio, Exinda Networks this week is announcing its new Version 5.0 firmware -- a software upgrade that’s all about scalability. With it Exinda upped the efficiency and capacity of its caching technology to make its products suitable for disaster recovery, data replication and other corporate applications involving large files and high-speed Internet links.

The new firmware "is something we've been working on for about 18 months. What it does for Exinda is enable us to now play in markets that we've otherwise not serviced, such as server consolidation, disaster recovery or business continuity planning, and data replication and storage," says Con Nikolouzakis, CEO of Exinda, which has been expanding steadily in the United States since moving its operations from Australia to Boston.

With its Version 5.0 firmware release, Exinda’s new hard disk caching capability yields 1,000 times more caching capacity, the company says. The upgrade also features more efficient stream-based caching to improve application response times and reduce repetitive WAN traffic. (Compare Application Acceleration and WAN Traffic Optimization products)

“There are some significant differences in our acceleration engine,” Nikolouzakis says. “One of them is that we’re now doing a hybrid WAN memory -- which is the equivalent of other vendors’ data de-duplication or differencing -- which uses the RAM and the hard disk together. This essentially gives us a thousand times more storage capacity, which is what’s required to operate in those environments.”

Exinda also looked to simplify the deployment of its gear with the new Version 5.0 firmware upgrade. Two new features, called Auto Discovery and Jump Start, let Exinda’s appliances automatically discover other Exinda appliances within the corporate WAN and automatically begin optimizing and accelerating traffic via a default configuration.

“If you’re doing a large deployment, or if you’ve got a network topology change, you don’t have to worry about reconfiguring the Exinda units,” Nikolouzakis says. “Before you had to essentially point all your units to a central registration server, which is how most systems operate today. Now we’ve basically created a peer-to-peer type of environment where we’re not dependent on a centralized mode anymore, which makes the system resilient and scalable, and simplifies it too.”

For example, if a company has already deployed 10 units, and decides to deploy another 40 units in its other branch offices, “you don’t have to go back to the existing ones to tell them about new units. Nor do you have to tell the new units about the old ones,” he says. “They’ll all just auto-discover themselves.”

Exinda's new Version 5.0 firmware is generally available for its x700 and x800 appliances, and customers with current software subscription contracts can download the new firmware for free at Exinda's Web site.

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