Fit for big and small pipes

* Packeteer is bolstering its WAN acceleration gear with some of the biggest and smallest Internet connections in mind

Like a commercial airplane that leaves a terminal with only a small portion of its seats occupied, an underutilized WAN link makes budget-watchers cringe.

To help enterprises avoid that condition, Packeteer this week is upgrading its WAN acceleration gear with features aimed at opposite ends of the WAN-link spectrum.

At the high end, Packeteer is unveiling a software upgrade for its SkyX Accelerator 750 that optimizes utilization of OC12 WAN links.

High capacity OC12 WAN links are often used to transfer bulk data for backup and disaster recovery processes. But as much as 97% of OC12 bandwidth routinely goes unused, due to latency and TCP protocol constraints, says Steve House, director of product management at Packeteer.

TCP chattiness forces applications to wait for acknowledgements to confirm that data traversing latency-sensitive WAN connections has been sent. TCP limitations on a 622Mbps OC12 WAN link with 25 ms latency could drag down the transmission rate of an application backup to 20.5Mbps, leaving 97% of the network link unused, House says.

With its new software upgrade, Packeteer set out to overcome latency and TCP constraints and increase data transfer speeds over large WAN links by as much as 200%. For a typical regional OC12 WAN link with 25ms of latency, a 100GB backup process which might normally takes 11 hours can now be reduced to 26 minutes with the SkyX Accelerator 750, Packeteer claims.

The SkyX Accelerator 750 appliance is available in 311Mbps and 622Mbps configurations starting at $52,000 and $60,000, respectively.

Separately, Packeteer also is unveiling new technology geared for users at the low end of WAN-link spectrum: the mobile crowd. Its Mobiliti 7.0 bundle integrates TCP and file acceleration technologies designed for mobile and home-based employees with automatic desktop backup capabilities and offline access to centralized files.

This isn’t Packeteer’s first offering for the remote crowd, but it is the first time the vendor is bundling its SkyX protocol acceleration technology with the Mobiliti client software.

Mobiliti is based on technology Packeteer gained last year in its acquisition of Tacit Networks; the client software is designed to provide fast file access to Microsoft files and enable offline folder access, House says.

Mobiliti 7.0 combines the TCP latency and data reduction technologies from the SkyX line with the automatic backup and offline network access capabilities of the original Mobiliti product line, House says. “What we’ve added is the technology from our other client solution, the SkyX client. That adds TCP acceleration and compression for all the other applications, not just Microsoft files.”

With Mobiliti 7.0, companies can avoid deploying additional networking equipment at home offices and remote locations, while still providing mobile and small-office users with fast access to centralized applications. “It’s for the mobile user, or the very small office or home office with just one or a few clients,” House says. “They’re important too. You can’t have applications work everywhere except for when your folks are traveling in a hotel, etc.”

Mobiliti 7.0 is available as a free upgrade to existing users of Packeteer’s Mobiliti product. Pricing for new users starts at $5,200 for 50 users; per-user prices decrease with volume.

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