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Network Appliance Touts Enterprise CDNs

Network Appliance (www.networkappliance.com) announced the latest version of its content delivery network (CDN) solutions, including new enterprise packages.

The company is pushing "eCDNS" or enterprise CDNs, for customers looking to help deliver a variety of content across a network. It also unveiled a new version of its NetCache content delivery appliance and software armed with new bandwidth management and content distribution technologies.

Network Appliance is releasing two enterprise CDN solution packages — the NetApp Enterprise CDN Starter Kit and the NetApp Enterprise CDN Flagship Package. The packages come with storage and content delivery appliances, as well as management and reporting tools. The starter kit is the entry-level solution for medium-sized companies with few remote offices and the "flagship" package is for medium-sized and large enterprises. Network Appliance boxes support both Windows Media and Real formats.

According to Ed Chow, senior manager of product marketing for Network Appliance, it "combines our products into pre-tested solutions so companies can deploy them very quickly. We're taking the experience we have and make it available on a broader scale," said Chow.

"Most people don't have the infrastructure in place to deliver streaming media in the enterprise," said Chow. He said that companies can either use the do-it-yourself model, or buy it from one of Network Appliance's partners like Ninth House or Storage Networks.

Support for Real

As part of its offerings today, Network Appliance announced that its appliances, which are now certified by RealNetworks, also support Real's latest version 8 codecs. "We've had Real support for two years but it hasn't been certified before," said Chow, explaining that Network Appliance didn't use a RealProxy server, but worked from the protocol level. "Now we can scale to 1Gb/sec, five times more than everyone else," he said.

"RealNetworks is excited to team with NetApp to provide enterprise customers with a streaming media solution that advances them to the next level of performance and profitability," said Ben Rotholtz, general manager, Media Systems, RealNetworks. "This technology integration enables enterprises to gain more control over their network traffic and save on bandwidth costs while delivering the breakthrough quality of RealAudio 8 and RealVideo 8."

WideVine Security

Network Appliance announced on Monday, it is partnering with encryption company WideVine. Says Chow, if you distribute streaming media across the public Internet, WideVine allows for protection from prying eyes. WideVine's Cypher works with the NetCache appliances.

"New business models and innovative new uses for Internet-based communications at corporations and institutions are skyrocketing, driving demand for innovative enterprise CDN solutions from Network Appliance," said John Beyer, CEO of WideVine. "NetApp and WideVine are collaboratively improving streaming security to protect proprietary information and copyrighted content from being stolen, pirated or viewed by unintended individuals or audiences."

Growing Competition for the Enterprise

Despite Monday's rosy news, Network Appliance has its share of competitors. Companies like Infolibria and CacheFlow are firmly in the appliance/streaming space. And a growing number are actively pursuing the growing enterprise market. According to a recent Jupiter Media Metrix study, enterprise spending on streaming video will increase from $140 million in 2000 to $2.8 billion in 2005. Jupiter predicts that internal employee communications will lead the spending.

Still, Network Appliance is confident it can come out on top. "We're the only one that can provide a complete solution today, with storage in the center and streaming to the edge of the network. New companies rely purely on edge," said Chow. He also noted that Network Appliance comes from a storage background, which lets them handle larger amounts of data.

Chow says that the payback scenario is changing from quality issues, to return on investment. He doesn't sound concerned that companies might actually scale back on spending on streaming. "This is the technology that continues even in the lean times," he said. "We can give someone very fast payback; you can start saving bandwidth immediately."

In these cost-cutting times, companies see real benefits to these solutions, said Chow. "Vignette saved $100,000 on travel costs in a quarter by using eLearning. Cost savings are a big driving factor for eCDNs," he said.

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