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FineGround purchase gives scope for expansion

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Cisco has bought application optimisation start-up FineGround Networks for approximately $70m in cash and options. The deal, announced Thursday, is expected to close before the end of July 2005, subject to regulatory approvals.

Privately-held FineGround makes network appliances that "accelerate, secure, and monitor application delivery". Cisco plans to integrate the data centre-orientated kit within its extensive portfolio of networking gear as a means to help its customers accelerate application response time and minimise costs.

According to FineGround, its technology can improve end-user response times by up to five times, reduce application bandwidth usage by up to 90 percent, and reduce the load on servers by up to 90 percent. The technology also allows firms to add application firewall functions to web-enabled business transactions.

FineGround was founded in June 2000 and has 42 employees. Post acquisition, the firm will join Cisco's Security Technology Group, reporting to Jayshree Ullal.

Last month Cisco's main rival Juniper Networks splashed out $500m on two firms in a move also broadly geared towards making IP-based applications more secure and reliable. Wide Area Network optimisation technology firm Peribit Networks and application front end firm Redline Networks have joined the Juniper stable ahead of plans by both Cisco and Juniper to make application optimisation a key plank in their product development plans. ®

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