Web performance booster to debut in Asia

Networking vendor F5 Networks will launch its WANjet appliance in the region to capitalize on the rising data traffic between Asia and the United States.

SINGAPORE--Asia's bustling outsourcing activities have pushed some vendors to come up with new devices and capitalize on the trend. F5 Networks for example, has unveiled its new WAN (wide area network) acceleration product.

Erik Giesa, F5 Networks' vice president for product management and marketing, told ZDNet Asia there is now a lot of data passing between the United States and Asia, thanks to IT outsourcing.

According to TeleGeography, a research company that monitors data traffic, Asia's cross-border Internet traffic grew by 64 percent last year, compared to the average of 49 percent worldwide.

Geisa, however, noted that such moving data is also subject to latency and security breaches as it transverses through the Internet.

He said that F5's WANjet product, plucked from its recent US$43 million Swan Lab acquisition, can provide the same level of application performance typically expected in a LAN (local area network) environment for enterprises. The device, to be launched late February this year, will accelerate file transfers and data replication with encryption, among others, he said.

Giesa said it was not a walk in the park to step into the WAN acceleration market, of which revenues are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41.2 percent from US$72 million in 2004 to US$803.5 million by 2011, according to market figures from Frost & Sullivan. Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems are the two other major players in this space.

Making WANjet available in Asia ahead of the rest of the world, presents a good growth opportunity for F5 Networks, Geisa said. The region currently contributes 20 percent to the company's revenues, he said.

Companies today still believe that performance issues can be resolved by increasing bandwidth, he said. "But the reason for WAN acceleration has got nothing to do with bandwidth," Geisa said, noting that bandwidth top-ups will not resolve latency problems.

"It's about how applications and TCP (transmission control protocol) behave in a WAN," he said. For example, it may take only a couple of seconds to retrieve a document that is stored on a LAN. The same file, however, could take a few minutes if it is accessed thousands of miles away from a branch office, he explained.