News Release

Cisco Introduces Wide Area File Service Technology through the Cisco File Engine

Wide Area File Services (WAFS) technology consolidates storage and server infrastructure and increases data protection at remote branch offices
Dec 14, 2004

SAN JOSE, Calif., December 14, 2004 - Cisco Systems, Inc.® today introduced the Cisco File Engine Series, appliance-based solutions utilizing wide area file services (WAFS) technology, which provides IT administrators the means to simplify management and increase protection of their file-based data located at remote branch offices throughout their enterprise.

Using the Cisco File Engine Series and WAFS technology, IT administrators can now consolidate all of their branch-office data in central file servers located in their main data centers. These customers will achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO) through the consolidation of file and print servers and tape backup devices from each branch office, as well as increased operational efficiency and reduced administration.

WAFS is an emerging technology solution designed to overcome performance issues associated with using standard file access protocols - Common Internet File System (CIFS) for Microsoft Windows environments and Network Files System (NFS) for UNIX environments - over the WAN. Through the WAFS-enabled Cisco File Engine, customers can achieve local area network (LAN)-like performance even when accessing files located at very remote branch offices.

"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 data centers," said Steve Duplessie, senior analyst and founder of the Enterprise Strategy Group. "However, 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."

The Cisco File Engine Series solution consists of the following:

  • The Cisco Edge File Engine is deployed at each branch office, replacing file and print servers and giving local clients (PC desktops and laptops) fast, near-LAN read and write-access to files.
  • The Cisco Core File Engine is deployed at the data center and connects directly to one or more file servers or network attached storage (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, Inc., which officially closed on Aug. 2, 2004.

Pricing and Availability

The Cisco File Engine Series are now available and can be purchased directly from Cisco or through a qualified Cisco reseller partner. The Cisco File Engine has a list price of $12,000 and includes a license to support up to 50 branch office users. Additional 50-user license packs are priced at $4500.