Packeteer, Microsoft Team On Branch Office Appliance

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Packeteer and Microsoft have co-developed a branch office appliance that marries their respective Windows and WAN optimization technologies.

The first release of Packeteer's iShaper, dubbed a branch office in a box, is designed to enhance delivery of application data, video and VoIP traffic to branch offices and will ship later this quarter, the companies said.

The solution is designed to deliver LAN-like performance out of a box, accelerating the performance of more than 600 applications without the need for deploying multiple products, according to Packeteer and Microsoft. It includes all branch-office file, print, authentication, directory and Web caching services, the companies said.

Pricing starts at $11,000 for an appliance offering as much as 45 Mbits-per-second throughput with 10 Mbps of accelerated traffic, Packeteer said.

In the fourth quarter, Packeteer plans to ship an enhanced iShaper appliance that integrates additional ISA Server technology for advanced firewall protection, VPN services and secure Web application acceleration capabilities.

The iShaper solution combines Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition and ISA Server with Cupertino, Calif-based Packeteer's wide-area file services, including traffic monitoring and optimization. Packeteer said it has also licensed the Redmond, Wash., software giant's protocols to develop advanced classification and acceleration products.

iShaper will enable solution providers and customers to view, classify and report on different kinds of traffic coming into a branch office, such as business, personal and malicious data, helping them prioritize the delivery of the most important data, Microsoft said.

One Microsoft partner deploying Windows Server 2003 R2 in branch offices using another vendor's WAN solution said he's interested in the new offering.

"We've been doing a lot of installs [of Windows Server 2003 R2], and we work with Cisco on wide-area network packet monitoring," said Roger Veach, CEO of Advantage Data Systems, Chillicothe, Ohio. "We'll take a look at this Packeteer solution now."

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