CacheFlow aims to reduce WAN costs

CacheFlow Inc. last month rolled out cache devices aimed at reducing response times of and cutting corporate bandwidth costs for accessing content and Web-based applications over the WAN.

What makes the new CacheFlow Client Accelerator 600 Series interesting is its ability to let customers support increasing demands for streaming media and Web content. Traditionally, cache devices have been used to speed requests for Web and e-commerce site content by sitting in front of Web servers and out on content delivery networks. But the growing use of corporate intranets as a method of delivering applications could also make cache devices a good option as storage and delivery appliances for corporate customers.

The Client Accelerator 600 Series includes the Model 610, 615, 625 and 645 appliances. Configurations vary according to user needs but the boxes include up to 72GB of disk space, up to 1GB of RAM and two Fast Ethernet ports. Lower-end models will have fewer RAM, storage and throughput capabilities. The models have a front panel LCD that allows for configuration.

The 600 Series devices work by storing Web and multimedia content at the edge of a network, closer to users. They physically sit behind Web and intranet servers so users can access them when connected to the network.

Nate Lynch, senior technical analyst at Perkins Coie, an international law firm, is interested in using the 600 Series to push content from the firm’s corporate intranet to remote offices. Employees in those offices could receive uniform updates to vital information on everything from new business accounts to financial and personal human resources data. The information would be accessed via Web-based applications.

Patrick Paczkowski, an analyst with market research firm Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Va., says that using a cache device to store content that users would otherwise be accessing over the Internet can not only save bandwidth charges, but also cut down on server purchases.

“When you use a cache to store information and serve it up, there is less work on the server side,” he says.

CacheFlow has also incorporated several features in its 600 Series that can help network managers control what kind of content is accessed and ensure that content updates are replicated across the network. A content filtering feature lets administrators set corporate policies for managing and filtering user access to inappropriate or unproductive Web sites.

The Content Manager feature lets network managers synchronize content across a distributed network of content accelerators. For example, content viewed from a Web-based application, such as financial or human resources data, can be updated once and then replicated so employees in remote offices won’t access incorrect or out-of-date information previously cached at their location.

The CacheFlow Client Accelerator 600 Series is available, with prices ranging from US$4,495 to US$19,995.

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