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Since all of the vendors in this space, including Riverbed Technology Inc., F5 Networks Inc., Blue Coat Systems Inc., Packeteer (which has been acquired by Blue Coat), Cisco Systems Inc., among others, have hundreds -- if not thousands -- of customers each, many companies have found that they can consolidate file and application services with almost zero impact to remote users.
This makes the WAN more responsive as you deploy these technologies across your infrastructure. I think it stands to reason for the enormous success that these vendors have had to show that there is a benefit to be had from wide area file services (WAFS) technologies.
When you're centralizing your system, it's almost mandatory that you consider some of these technologies, as this is just the most valuable means in the market to increase the performance of your WAN enough that consolidation becomes practical.