Managed service provider Ipanema Technologies this week released a major upgrade to its WAN optimization platform, with new versions of its Autonomic Networking System (ANS) software and IP Engine appliances that it claims enable it to offer application-specific SLAs for enterprises moving to cloud computing. It also announced plans for new branch office and virtual appliances that will extend its SLAs to more users by the end of the year.
In a further sign of confidence in the service-based model of WAN optimization, pure-play optimization service provider Aryaka announced a $15 million Series B funding round that it expects will last until it is cash flow positive.
The announcements continue a busy week in the WAN optimization world, with Silver Peak and new startup Infineta Systems both launching high-end appliances aimed at enterprise datacenter-to-datacenter links while market leader Riverbed upgraded its cloud storage appliances for branch offices and smaller businesses.
Infineta also received a Series B funding round, coincidentally raising the same amount as Aryaka.
Unlike the Silver Peak and Infineta appliances, the IP Engine 20 is aimed squarely at the branch office, WAN optimization's traditional market. However, SLAs for cloud applications are a relatively new use case, and one that Ipanema thinks is necessary to give enterprises greater control over applications hosted remotely.
"Traditionally recreational applications are becoming business tools," said Mark Burton, Ipanema's product management director in an interview. "Enterprises are using YouTube for training, Facebook for marketing. We're also seeing in-house applications moved towards the cloud." Together with its ANS software, the new appliance is able to enforce SLAs for applications including Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, IBM LotusLive, and SalesForce.com.
The division between private VPN and public Internet doesn't exist anymore," said Burton. "The network has to adapt to these changes while enforcing performance for critical applications." To this end, it plans to separate SLA enforcement from WAN optimization, offering a smaller device called the Nano Engine in Q4 2011. Aimed at branch offices that use cloud services, this will offer SLA enforcement without WAN optimization. In common with other WAN optimization vendors, Ipanema also plans to offer a virtual version of its appliance, the Virtual Engine, due to ship in Q3. This is aimed both at enterprises running virtual servers in the datacenter and at cloud deployments.
In contrast to Ipanema's managed appliances, Aryaka offers WAN optimization as a service with no client-side hardware or software except an optional appliance that it claims the vast majority of installations don't use. Led by Trinity Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Nexus Venture Partners, the $15 million Series B round comes only eight months after its initial $14 million round, though the company says this isn't because it has burned through its earlier funding already. "You can never be too rich," said founder and CEO Ajit Gupta in an interview.
Whereas Ipanema is targeting hybrid MPLS and Internet networks, Aryaka thinks everything will move towards the Internet. "MPLS is going to be dead," said Gupta. "We're seeing a lot of interest in MPLS right now, but the candle is brightest before it burns out."
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