When it comes to tackling the many IT duties needed to ensure optimal WAN performance, most vendors fall on either side of the argument: point products vs. integrated platforms.This week Expand Networks made it clear that its approach to WAN performance optimization lands firmly in the integration platform camp. The company last week announced that it would be integrating its application acceleration, compression, caching and WAN optimization features into one platform dubbed Expand Compass. According to company representatives, the platform will enable an integrated, unified approach to tackling application performance over the wide area."Our customers are demanding a broader set of capabilities all under the one environment," says Chris Williams, Expand's chief marketing officer. "Expand Compass will also create a dialogue between IT initiatives and the business."Expand Compass will incorporate five modules across the integrated platform. The WAN optimization module will address QoS and compression technologies. The acceleration module will handle both application and protocol acceleration. The security module will perform encryption, access, authorization and authentication duties. And WAFS will perform file services acceleration. And the last module is the management module, performed by ExpandView, Expand Compass software that lets IT managers administer, configure and manage multiple Accelerator boxes.The company had already added wide-area file services (WAFS) support to its products last year. WAFS works by reducing the "chattiness" of Microsoft's Common Internet File System (CIFS) and the Unix\/Linux Network File System (NFS) protocols.The integrated upgrades, the company says, will be built upon the Accelerator operating system and what existing customers already have in place. And customers such as Continental Airlines are looking forward to the expanded storage Expand plans to include in its Accelerator boxes.