Cisco buys app accelerator

Cisco this week said it plans to acquire privately-held FineGround Networks, a Campbell, Calif., maker of bandwidth optimization appliances, for US$70 million.

FineGround’s appliances are designed to accelerate, secure and monitor application delivery while minimizing bandwidth usage in the data center. Cisco plans to integrate the technology in its routing and switching products to provide secure and optimized delivery of Web-based applications.

Application acceleration and bandwidth optimization has been a hot area of late. Cisco rival Juniper Networks recently announced plans to acquire Peribit Networks and Redline Networks, two makers of acceleration and optimization products, for a combined $469 million.

FineGround’s patented technology decreases latency, and offloads processing from servers across the network, Cisco says. The appliances improve end-user response times by up to 5 times, reduce application bandwidth usage by up to 90%, and reduce the load on servers by up to 90 percent, Cisco claims.

The appliances also incorporate application firewall functions to allow organizations to secure and mitigate the risk of Web-enabled business transactions, Cisco says.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $70 million in cash and options for FineGround. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2005, which ends July 30.

FineGround will become part of Cisco’s Security Technology Group and CEO Nat Kausik will continue to manage operations. FineGround was founded in June 2000 and has 42 employees.