Packeteer: With 1200 Series, Now The Price Is Right

The arrival of the Packeteer 1200 Series appliance comes with an admission from the Cupertino, Calif.-based vendor that its previous WAN application traffic management appliances were too pricey. The cost did not justify placing the appliances in every single remote office a customer might have, said John Fomook, Packeteer's director of field marketing.

Starting at $2,150, the lower-priced 1200 Series offers functionality and centralized management that quickly makes up for its lower capital investment, Fomook said.

"Up to now, the competitive price points for our appliances were up in the $8,000 to $12,000 range, so the ROI wasn't there for customers like retail chains who could benefit from managing WAN bandwidth but had too many remote sites," Fomook said.

"Now, we have a cheaper price point, and you can see a six-month ROI in a small branch office."

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Tony Morris, branch manager at Computer Source, a VAR based in Kansas City, Mo., said the appliance means WAN customers no longer have to opt for a short-term fix by throwing more bandwidth at WAN latency problems. "With bandwidth getting cheap, customers have been just putting a bigger pipe out there and not controlling the problem. But applications are getting bigger, and what good is a bigger highway if there are still too many cars on the road?"

The 1200 Series appliances have a plug-and-play installation process that, once connected, dials home to a customer's primary Packeteer device management interface. This allows administrators to see and control every Packeteer appliance, regardless of location, through a single interface. From there, bandwidth at any location running a 1200 Series appliance can be prioritized for critical apps and data traffic such as credit-card processing or storage backup, Fomook said. Compression at link speeds up to 2 Mbps, application identification and centralized reporting are also features of the 1200 Series, Fomook said.

One retail customer study showed customers using 1200 Series appliances had an 80 percent improvement in load time for apps running daily sales reports, he said.