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Two Approaches To Taming Big Data

If today's data-centers aren't already drowning in data they will be soon, but two vendors, San Jose-based Infineta Systems and its nearby neighbor, Santa Clara-based Silver Peak Systems, are launching wide area network optimization solutions that will at least address, if not 'solve' the problem. According to a recent IDC study, sponsored by EMC, the amount of data will grow 44 times by 2020. Another survey by Gartner reported that data growth is the biggest data-center hardware infrastructure challenge for large enterprises, with forty-seven percent ranking data growth in their top three challenges, followed by system performance and scalability at 37 percent, and network congestion and connectivity architecture at 36 percent.

Infineta, a provider of what it calls hyper-scale WAN optimization systems, is announcing general availability of its Infineta Data Mobility Switch (DMS), promising instant 5 to 10x bandwidth capacity gains, IP traffic acceleration, and critical application prioritization and assurance over multi-gigabit WAN links (the Hyper-scale WAN). It says DMS is the first solution to operate at 10Gbps wire speeds. Available in capacity increments of 2Gbps, 5Gbps and 10Gbps, DMS pricing starts at $80,000.

Focusing exclusively on the data-center-to-data-center opportunity, Infineta started shipping the new switch at the end of 2010 and has a number of customers up and running. The company says the DMS provides an 80 percent-plus WAN footprint reduction via hardware dedupe, and a 5-8x price/performance advantage over all comers.

Silver Peak takes another approach to addressing the hyperscale or east/west data-center-to-data-center data deluge – as opposed to the north/south data-center-to-branch WAN optimization market – with its NX-10000 (NX-10K) appliance. Billed as the industry’s first multi-Gbps WAN optimization appliance, the NX-10K reportedly delivers three-times more capacity and throughput performance (256,000 simultaneous sessions) than its nearest competitor in a two-rack-unit (2U) form-factor featuring four 10 Gbps interfaces, 2.5 Gbps of WAN throughput, and optimization for all internet protocol (IP) traffic and applications in a single appliance. The list price is $299,995.

Infineta joins Silver Peak, Riverbed and F5 in the gigabit throughput game, says Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa. “There is a big need for much higher throughput for DC-DC for replication and to support VM mobility. 10G LAN and multi-gig WAN is the next step and Infineta is targeting that market with a relatively quick step up to 40G. They have a unique hardware-based design that they believe will give them an advantage at 10 and a big one at 40G. Silver Peak has done the exact opposite with an x86-based design with carefully tweaked software. They are also targeting aggregation of lots of branch to DC flows -- a market where they are looking to expand.

Skorupa expects F5 and Riverbed to respond with higher-speed boxes. “This is a race and these four vendors all have strong technologies. Riverbed and F5 have large customer bases, Silver Peak is strong in DC-DC. Infineta has to build brand, partnerships, distribution and they need references. And all will have to show what they mean by 10G/multi-gig: is it lots of small flows or a few big ones? Is it with full de-dupe or just compression and TCP optimization. The details matter.”

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