Appliance firm intros sub-$10,000 caching device

Looking to encourage businesses to deploy its products more widely, Network Appliance later this month will launch its first Internet caching device priced below $US10,000.

Caching appliances store frequently accessed Web pages and streamed media content closer to end users, with the goal of reducing download times. They are used by businesses to distribute training videos and to speed up their Web sites and by Internet service providers to provide faster access for users.

Called the NetCache C1100, Network Appliance's new system is due to ship in the US, Europe and Asia by the end of May, priced from $US5,950, company spokesman Adam Trunkey said.

As well as being its first box priced below $10,000, the C1100 is also Network Appliance's first caching device to come in a rack-mounted form, which means it occupies less space.

The lower price and smaller size should encourage businesses to deploy caching appliances more broadly within their organisations, Trunkey said. For example, a large investment bank could deploy C1100s at overseas branch offices to distribute analyst reports more efficiently, Trunkey said.

The box is also suitable for ISP point-of-presence (POP) deployment and supports Internet protocols including HTTP, FTP, and NNTP, as well as the three leading streaming media formats, the company said. The NetCache C1100 also supports caching and content delivery protocols such as Web Cache Control Protocol (WCCP), Network Element Control Protocol (NECP), and the Internet Content Adaptation Protocol (ICAP).

The system ships with one 9G-byte hard drive, 256M bytes of SDRAM, dual 10/100Mb Ethernet ports, and supports multiple T1 connections for HTTP caching and multiple T3 connections for streaming media, Network Appliance said.

Network Appliance's customers include Merrill Lynch & Co, Lycos, Yahoo and Cisco Systems Its competitors include Akamai Technologies and CacheFlow.

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