Vendor adds bandwidth expansion devices

Expand Networks Monday announced two networking appliances that support bandwidth expansion capabilities, an emerging technology that gives IT managers an alternative to ordering bigger network pipes.

Roseland, N.J.-based Expand is rolling out the Accelerator 4810 and 6810 devices and said the latter will support WAN speeds ranging from 2M to 45Mbit/sec. at up to 100 sites.

Auto parts retailer O'Reilly Automotive Inc. is considering an investment in the new equipment, after installing Expand's older Accelerator 6800 in April to handle the mirroring of corporate data from its headquarters in Springfield, Mo., to a backup data center in Dallas, said Mark Garton, information systems disaster recovery team leader at O'Reilly.

The retailer operates more than 1,000 stores in 17 states, plus 11 distribution centers. Garton said the April installation allowed O'Reilly to do the data mirroring on one T3 network link instead of two, resulting in savings of more than US$2,000 per month.

O'Reilly bought two of the 6800 devices at a cost of about $15,000 apiece, Garton said, adding that the new 6810 model might be used on the frame-relay links between O'Reilly's warehouses.

"When we first heard of this technology, they made some pretty big claims, but it has worked," Garton said.

The worldwide market for bandwidth compression and optimization products totaled only about $120 million last year, but it's growing fast, perhaps at an annual rate of 50 percent, said Peter Firstbrook, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn. Expand controls about 80 percent of the market; its rivals include Peribit Networks Inc., Packeteer Inc. and ITWorx Inc., he said.

Peribit announced two new customers last week. One, London-based auto dealer Ryland Group PLC, said it's using the technology to cut bandwidth needs on WAN links among 30 locations.

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