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Mon 15 Oct 2007 04:00 AM

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Shaping the future of regional WANs

Packeteer plans to tap further into the regional market by establishing a local office and by helping its distributors to expand its channel presence.

WAN optimisation solutions provider Packeteer has big plans for the Middle East region. According to company spokespeople, this year the company has recorded 50% growth in revenues from the region and expects the same level of growth next year as well.

"The Middle East is part of our emerging markets in terms of strategy along with Eastern Europe and Africa. We are clearly the number one player by marketshare already in the Middle East region and we are continuing to invest to strengthen our position," says Bernard Girbal, VP for Europe, Middle East and Africa for the vendor.

The iShaper helps companies address the twin needs of maintaining data integrity as well as cutting down on bandwidth costs.

According to him, the firm is planning on starting its own office in Dubai to handle its Middle East market. The office will start with two to three people concentrating on sales and technical support and will work closely with the company's existing distributors, especially FVC, to address the region better.

"The biggest market by far in the region is Saudi Arabia. This is where we see the biggest projects along with the Emirates. FVC, which contributes the biggest share of our revenues in the Middle East, has a good presence in almost all countries here," states Girbal.

Girbal claims that there is growing awareness among end users and enterprises in the region on the advantages of WAN optimisation, driven by expensive bandwidth costs, and the recent launch of its iShaper product is meant to address this growing demand better.

"The iShaper helps companies consolidate their servers to one location or datacentre and negates the need for servers at local offices. This will help companies address the twin needs of maintaining data integrity as well as cutting down on bandwidth costs. People at remote sites will be able to access and use data from the datacentre as if it was present locally. The product is also Microsoft certified and supported and does not break the support chain for the organisation if they remove Microsoft-based servers at the local office," says Girbal.

The product provides application acceleration, as well as the company's ‘traditional' visibility and QoS options. Packeteer has already provided the boxes to its distributors in the region and is conducting some pilots among enterprises. Around 700 units have been shipped worldwide since its June launch and many are being used by organisations in Europe.

"The size of the transactions that we are doing in the region is on the rise. Earlier we used to do small US$30,000 transactions but now we do up to $300,000. However, there is still a bit of evangelical activity that needs to be done. There are a whole lot of vendors who claim to do WAN optimisation. Many of these solutions tend to accelerate all kinds of traffic - including instant messaging and web downloads. Our solution ensures that only the company's mission critical apps are accelerated. Customers have to be educated to realise that different solutions offer different capabilities," says Girbal.

According to him, one of the biggest challenges that the company faces in the region is that of reaching potential customers and this will be his priority for 2008. The firm's distributors will be urged to increase the base of its resellers and Packeteer staff will help them in recruiting these reseller partners.

On the competitive landscape though, Girbal states that many of their global competitors do not have a presence here. He adds that Juniper and Cisco can be considered as some serious competition within the region for Packeteer products.

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