Silver Peak is looking to significantly expand the wide area network (WAN) optimization market with two new solutions intended to attract new users: a free appliance, VX-Xpress (VX-X), and a 20-times performance boost to its high-end enterprise data center VRX-8 appliance. These are game-changing announcements, says the company's senior VP of worldwide marketing, Larry Cormier.
Released last November to primarily support replication between data centers, the VRX-8 has been supercharged from the original support of up to 20,000 simultaneous user sessions to 256,000, and its hypervisor platform support has been expanded from the original VMware vSphere to Citrix XenServer and KVM. It supports 1 Gbps of WAN throughput, 20 times more than any other virtual WAN optimization product, says Cormier, and is the first and only such solution designed for all data center initiatives--from replication to centralized file services for multiple remote locations. List pricing is $69,995 for a perpetual license or $38,731 per year for a subscription license.
Based on the company's Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA), the free and fully functional VX-X virtual appliance is targeted at organizations either new to WAN optimization or looking for a quick and easy way to hook up remote offices. It supports 4 Mbps of WAN bandwidth with 8,000 simultaneous sessions, and is application-, protocol- and software-version-agnostic.
"We believe it will result in more opportunities for us in the small enterprise space, which is pretty much untouched," says Cormier. Users can realize up to 10 times cost savings by decommissioning existing private-line connections and avoiding investments in larger-capacity WANs and bandwidth upgrades, he adds.
Analyst Lynda Stadtmueller, program director, business communication services, Stratecast, a division of Frost & Sullivan, believes that virtualized WAN Optimization appliances will be helpful in opening the market to smaller businesses and smaller branch locations. In addition, she notes a free tool can also be an effective tool for managed network service providers to offer additional value to their customers while limiting upfront investment in hardware.
"I strongly believe that the mid-market represents a huge, untapped opportunity for providers of WAN optimization and application acceleration products or services, which today mostly target very large enterprises. Midsize businesses are increasingly adopting bandwidth-hungry applications; they are increasingly doing business with constituents beyond the corporate network; and they are looking for technology solutions to help them compete globally. WAN optimization appliances and services can do that--if they're scoped, sized and priced right. Silver Peak and others who recognize that have the opportunity to do well."
Stadtmueller says performance and functionality are the key WAN optimization market drivers. "Enterprises are looking for multifunction appliances that will help them do two things: deliver applications to end users efficiently and effectively, while maximizing use of existing network facilities. The capacity of the WAN optimization appliance must be aligned with the network capacity, and as network bandwidth continues to increase, then a provider that offers greater capacity may find itself in demand. However, today most of the leading providers offer their appliances in a range of sizes that thus far have kept pace with user needs."
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