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Cisco Rolls Out WAN/App Optimization Products, New Business Unit

Cisco Systems on Thursday upped the ante in the WAN/application optimization game with plans to unveil new products and a new business unit for those technologies.

The new products include the Cisco Application Velocity System (AVS), a family of application acceleration, security and monitoring appliances for the data center, as well as the Cisco Wide-area Application Engine (WAE), an appliance line that provides application acceleration and file services to branch offices.

The product lines are part of the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant&s new Application Acceleration Business Unit. They are based on technology that Cisco picked up through its acquisitions of FineGround Networks in June and Actona Technologies last year. The unit is headed by George Kurian, vice president and general manager at the company.

In recent months, the WAN/application optimization space has seen a bevy of buyouts, startup launches and product introductions as vendors vie for a piece of a market that research firm IDC projects to reach $314 million this year and nearly $611 million by 2009.

To help drive its new WAN/application optimization offerings, Cisco is recruiting channel partners as early adopters of the products and later plans to move toward a more formalized partner designation or specialization around the technology, according to a company spokesman.

The new AVS family includes the AVS 3120 and AVS 3180 appliances, designed to accelerate and optimize HTML or XML-based applications. The AVS 3120 improves the performance of Web-based applications and portals from Oracle, Siebel and SAP by offloading server processes and minimizing “chattiness” between applications. It also includes an application security firewall to help fend off application-layer threats and data theft. The AVS 3180 provides networkwide monitoring and reporting of application response times.

Cisco WAE is designed to improve disaster recovery by enabling server and storage consolidation. The family includes three appliances that run Cisco Wide Area File Services and the Cisco Application and Content Networking System. WAE is also available as a network module for Cisco&s year-old line of Integrated Services Routers.

The Cisco AVS and Cisco WAE products are available now. The Cisco AVS 3120 is priced at $34,995, and the Cisco AVS 3180 costs $14,995. Pricing for Cisco WAE begins at $5,500.

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