Cisco Systems on Tuesday introduced the Cisco File Engine Series, a line of appliance-based solutions utilizing WAFS (wide area file services) technology designed for branch office consolidation.
The new series is designed to simplify management and increase protection of data located at remote branch offices throughout their enterprise. The products are also designed to lower costs by centralizing more storage at the datacenter and less at the branch office.
Using the Cisco File Engine Series and WAFS technology, IT administrators can consolidate more of their branch-office data in central file servers located in their main datacenters. The goal is a lower TCO (total cost of ownership) through the consolidation of file and print servers and tape backup devices from each branch office, according to Cisco officials.
Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, said consolidating branch-office data can reduce administration costs. “Consolidating remote branch-office file services and storage to a central location will make it easier for IT administrators to manage these discrete resources while allowing them to take advantage of the highly available data-protection infrastructure that is readily available in the main datacenters,” he said.
Cisco's new edge routers use WAFS, an emerging technology designed to overcome performance issues associated with using standard file access protocols, such as Common Internet File System (CIFS) for Microsoft Windows environments and Network Files System (NFS) for Unix environments, over a WAN. WAFS helps IT departments achieve LAN-like performance even when accessing files located at remote branch offices. “Until the availability of WAFS technology, there was no real practical way to solve the latency issues involved in accessing files over long distances. Staying at a higher applications level, and not just focusing on the pipe itself, is a critical ingredient to be able to successfully pull this off," said Duplessie.
The Cisco File Engine Series consists of several components. The Cisco Edge File Engine is deployed at each branch office. It replaces file and print servers and gives local clients near-LAN read and write-access to files. The Cisco Core File Engine is deployed at the datacenter and connects directly to one or more file servers or NAS gateways. The Core File Engine processes WAN-optimized file requests on behalf of each Edge File Engine. The Cisco WAFS Central Manager provides centralized management and monitoring of every file engine deployed within an enterprise.
The Cisco File Engine Series are the first products resulting from the acquisition of Actona Technologies earlier this year. The Cisco File Engine Series are now available. The Cisco File Engine has a list price of $12,000 and includes a license to support as many as 50 branch office users. Additional 50-user license packs are priced at $4,500.