By Kevin Komiega
—Microsoft has joined forces with WAN optimization/acceleration specialist Packeteer to integrate previously piecemeal technologies into a unified appliance for branch-office environments.
This week, the companies jointly announced the iShaper appliance that combines Packeteer's WAN optimization, application visibility, and prioritization technologies with Microsoft's Windows Server, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server, and System Management Server (SMS) platforms.
The result is a product that offers application visibility, WAN acceleration/optimization, secure application QoS, and native compatibility with Microsoft application services in a single device.
The iShaper appliance eliminates the need for stand-alone WAN acceleration and other point products. The device optimizes data, voice, and video traffic and, according to Mark Urban, Packeteer's director of product marketing, addresses users' demand to centralize data and storage and consolidate branch-office server infrastructure.
"We're enabling a different application delivery architecture that is made possible by combining a number of domains at the branch office," says Urban. "This not only consolidates storage, but servers as well."
Urban claims iShaper consolidates five different classes of branch-office infrastructure components on to a single platform, including network and application performance monitoring, application QoS for high availability, policy provisioning, application acceleration, and the discovery and classification of applications and protocols.
Microsoft and Packeteer claim implementing iShaper at branch offices will help cut costs by converging high-speed network access to centralized data via wide area file services (WAFS) technology, TCP and HTTP traffic, high-performance ERP, CRM, and financial transactions with voice and video.
The iShaper branch-office appliance is priced from $11,000.