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WAN application acceleration firm Expand Networks has agreed to buy privately-held wide area file services (WAFS) firm DiskSites. The all-stock deal, which gives DiskSites shareholders a 13.5 per cent interest in Expand Networks, was announced on Monday and is expected to close within two months.

The deal follows the $78m acquisition of WAFS vendor Tacit by Packeteer, a WAN optimisation firm that competes with Expand, last week. Privately-held Expand Networks is not placing a dollar value on the agreement to acquire DiskSites.

Expand and DiskSites are hardly strangers to each other. DiskSites’ technology has been integrated into Expand's Compass Platform through an OEM agreement announced in August 2005.

DiskSites software technology helps firms to consolidate applications in centralised data centres while providing 'LAN-like' file access over a WAN. Expand's kit assists organisation in making the best use of expensive WAN connections to branch offices.

While WAN optimization still represents only a small segment of the overall networking market some analysts reckon it's poised for growth. That's because it meets the twin needs of consolidate data centers and the requirement to deliver applications to a more distributed workforce. According to Infonetics Research, the WAN appliance market was worth $236m last year. It forecasts double-digit annual growth until at least 2009. ®

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