WAN players eye Asian opportunity

Wide area network (WAN) compression and optimization technology companies are setting up a presence in the Asia Pacific to capitalize on opportunities presented by the growing deployment of IP telephony and other bandwidth intensive enterprise applications in the region.

Last week, Expand Networks Inc. became the second player in as many months to announce the opening of its regional headquarters in Singapore. Expand’s Asean office will be a focal point for sales and technical training for its partners from the region, for example, from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, said Ariel Caner, director — Asia Pacific Sales, Expand Networks.

In February, another company, Peribit Networks Inc., announced the opening of its Singapore office as the hub for its South Asia operations. “Singapore is a critical component of our global strategy,” said Shane Buckley, president, International, Peribit Networks. “It is a major Asian hub for our target market, mid and large-sized enterprises, and we fully expect the office to be a significant contributor to our revenue and growth.”

Both Expand and Peribit offer solutions that enable enterprises to optimise the use of the network.

When data is sent from one point to another over the WAN, there are often repetitive and redundant strings, explained Expand’s chief executive officer Zohar Pearl (left). Very simply put, Expand’s patented Accelerator technology eliminates the need to send repetitive data, thereby increasing network capacity.

It also delivers “application insurance” by automatically discovering and classifying more than 100 enterprise applications while detecting performance problems relating to degraded WAN conditions and proactively fixing them for optimal application delivery across the network.

“The technology provides visibility into the network and gives customers the ability to enforce quality of service of applications and to prioritize traffic, say, database access, Siebel or Oracle,” said Pearl.

Peribit’s technology, based on a DNA sequencing technology called Molecular Sequence Reduction, also identifies and removes repetitive data patterns of any size, anywhere in the data stream, in real time.

Like Peribit, Expand chose to use Singapore as its hub for the region, due largely to the fact that many multinational corporations have a presence here.

Over the last two years, Expand’s business in this region has been growing, said Pearl. “In many cases, demand comes from our U.S. customers setting up a presence in Asia, or it is generated from regional headquarters serving a local presence.”

One such example is global logistics company GeoLogistics Corporation, which had deployed over 100 Expand Accelerators in Europe and the United States, and intends to extend its deployment to key markets in Southeast Asia. “Expand’s value to us is that it enables our worldwide roll-out of Citrix applications without breaking the bank on bandwidth costs,” said Vince Lipiz, director, Technology and Architecture at GeoLogistics Corporation.

Expand has also announced new partnerships with IT services companies Datacraft Asia and NCR, to tap on opportunities in this region.

“We want to leverage on the relationships that they already have, for example, the integration projects that they already do, and managing their clients’ networks,” said Pearl.

“Our model of going to market is based on working with partners. When the adoption level takes off, we will put in our people to help our partners.”

Expand has about 800 customers, of whom 10-15 per cent come from the greater Asia Pacific. Pearl is aiming to increase this by 10-20 per cent over the next 12 months.

Organizations that deploy WAN compression solutions include banks that are migrating to web-based teller applications, or companies with multiple branches and are migrating to client-server based applications.

Pearl said growth in voice over IP (VOIP) is one of the key drivers behind the adoption of WAN compression solutions. “VOIP is becoming more and more widely adopted. The industry had been talking about it for five to six years but in the past two years, it has become a reality and we have seen greater acceptance.”

Other drivers include the growth in new bandwidth-intensive applications being deployed in the enterprise, and increased efforts being put into disaster recovery solutions, which require backups to remote locations.

Said Pearl, “Four and a half years ago, we came up with technology and when we went to market, in those early days, it was not clear if the customer understood the need. Today, we are past that. The need is clear and so is the solution.”