Exinda tops 5 Gbps

Exinda today unveiled its new top-of-the-line WAN optimization appliance, aimed at customers that want to speed application traffic over multi-gigabit network connections.

The new Exinda 8760 appliance tops out at 5 Gbps. Typical customers might include universities and second- and third-tier ISPs that are struggling to handle the surge in applications delivered over the Internet, including multimedia, e-learning applications and bandwidth-hogging P2P traffic, says Ed Ryan, Exinda’s vice president of products. “All of that has led to an increase in traffic and a reduction in packet size,” he says, “which means that their WAN visibility, QoS and optimization appliances need to have higher performance.”

Ease of use was a key consideration in designing the 8760, Ryan says. There are a number of customers looking for WAN optimization products with multi-gig support – but they aren’t ready for the complexity of the gear used in top-tier service provider networks, for example.

As companies migrate to multi-gig environments, many don’t want to give up the simplicity of an all-in-one appliance. With Exinda’s architecture, customers can scale from 100 Mbps to 5 Gbps on a single appliance that supports a range of optimization features, including application visibility, QoS, protocol optimization and acceleration. “The simplicity is important,” Ryan says.

WAN optimization gear designed for top-tier service provider networks comes with high-end features such as advanced billing capabilities that aren’t required by the kinds of customers Exinda is targeting with the 8760 appliance. Rather, the 8760 includes features such as built-in reporting and management tools, as well as integration with Microsoft’s Active Directory, which is geared for customers that want to tie bandwidth usage to individual users or groups, for instance, Ryan says.

The Exinda 8760 is a 2 RU appliance with two four-core processors. To achieve 5 Gbps throughput, “we’ve multi-threaded our entire product, all the components, all the way down to the network interface,” Ryan says. “The network interface cards that we use have anywhere between four and 10 queues, so as soon as a connection comes in to the box, it’s spread out, right at the network interface card layer, and pushed through the box into multiple queues on the processor…. Essentially we’re just multi-threading and spreading everything across and utilizing the maximum capability of the hardware.”

Looking ahead, Exinda expects to continue to scale its appliances as customers migrate to higher bandwidth environments.

“We’re growing with our customer base,” Ryan says. “Customers are moving to 10 gig physical infrastructure, and their network links are going to grow into the capacity of that. We fully expect to continue to push the envelope on scalability. We don’t see the trend slowing down at all.”

The Exinda 8760 starts at $45,000. Exinda plans to show the device at the Educause conference in Denver next month.