WANs go faster Down Under

Exinda joins the application acceleration party.

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Australian WAN acceleration company Exinda has brought out its second generation of WAN speed-up gear. There's a new 800 series of hardware appliances, but their new Unified Performance Management (UPM) software will also work on the current Exinda 700 series hardware, and is a free upgrade for existing customers.

Exinda's former focus was on quality of service (QoS) and maximising the capacity of the WAN 'pipe'. Its boxes did traffic shaping to control how much bandwidth each application used, data compression and other things such as policy enforcement, including P2P detection and control.

The UPM software adds the sort of acceleration and data reduction features popularised by the likes of Riverbed, Expand and Juniper - for instance, application optimisation, TCP acceleration and pattern caching (which Exinda calls WAN memory).

It also aims to make set-up easier via an auto-discovery feature, said Jim Christie, Exinda's world-wide sales veep. He claimed that this means a network manager can plug an Exinda device in, and it will automatically discover its fellows around the WAN and configure itself appropriately.

Christie added that like other bandwidth control technology - such as Packeteer's PacketShaper - the boxes can be used for WAN and application monitoring too, and sometimes get blamed for showing up hidden problems in the underlying network.

"People know their network is slow, but they don't know why," he said. "Acceleration-type products can expose network weaknesses such as asymmetric routes or ISP problems. There is a lot of convergence here with network management and monitoring."

It can also reveal unexpected usage patterns, he said: "For example, an Australian university had its WAN cost going over $100,000 a quarter, they put us in as an analyser, expecting to find a lot of P2P, but it was all YouTube. The problem is some individuals may need that - it's not all recreational, so you can't block it outright."

That's why the Exinda box can apply different profiles to different individuals, groups or departments, he said, adding that it can also adapt its policies dynamically, for example if the main WAN link fails and traffic must be routed over a lower capacity backup.

Dave Ryder, Exinda's UK sales veep, noted that the new 800 series hardware goes up to 155Mbit/s of application acceleration, meaning it can accelerate high speed WAN links, and right down to a 1Mbit/s branch office box at around £1450.

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