In what could be big news, depending on what the two companies come up with, Microsoft has teamed with a small WAN optimization firm called Packeteer to develop a specialized server appliance for branch offices.
Packeteer makes an appliance called the iShaper that provides data caching, compression and optimization in distributed environments. The deal revolves around a specialized version of Windows Storage Server 2003, letting the iShaper in on Windows tools like file and print servers, DNS control, backup and IPS. There's also talk of adding Redmond's Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) server later this year, with Virtual Private Network (VPN) and SSL acceleration and certificate management after that.
The package is being presented as a solution for mid-level firms that may be losing productivity because their branch offices do not have full access to VoIP, ERP, CRM and other business applications. Packeteer CEO Dave Cote claimed at IT Jungle to provide "LAN-like performance and high availability in a single appliance."
Like I said, this could be a hot new system. But I've also seen my fair share of technology announcements that were never heard from again.