Citrix to buy WAN optimizing startup firm

A Silicon Valley startup with 75 customers that specializes in optimizing data transfers over wide-area networks is being acquired by Citrix Systems Inc. for US$50 million.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix believes Orbital Data Corp.'s technology will help users who are supporting applications delivered to remote offices from a central data center. Wes Wasson, vice president of marketing and product strategy at Citrix said the technology can deliver a fivefold improvement data transfer speeds.

Citrix said yesterday that it expects to complete the acquisition of San Mateo, Calif.-based Orbital this quarter. While Citrix intends to integrate Orbital's technology into its product line, the change won't affect existing customers, said Wasson.

Many of the customers listed on Orbital's Web site are media firms, including Metrocorp Publications, which publishes Boston magazine and Philly magazine.

One Orbital user, Chris Majauckas, computer technology manager Boston-based Metrocorp, said he's not certain what the company's sale to Citrix will bring. "If they keep it a separate line of business and keep development working well on it, it shouldn't effect any of their current customers -- in fact, it should give the Orbital group the funds to do their R&D," said Majauckas.

Majauckas uses Orbital to ship magazine pages over a network. The page files are about 125MB each and once took an hour to print out. The company has cut that time to about eight minutes per page with the Orbital technology.