Silver Peak Enters WAN Arena

California startup is the latest vendor to step into the WAN optimization market with the launch of new products

September 21, 2005

3 Min Read
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Startup Silver Peak Systems has become the latest vendor to enter the hectic Wide-Area Network (WAN) optimization space with the launch of its first products (see Silver Peak Starts Up).

A frenzy of activity has been brewing in this corner of the networking market, culminating in a slew of acquisitions, as big-name vendors attempt to boost their WAN stories (see Cisco Chomps FineGround, Juniper Completes Peribit Buy and Peribit Deal: More to Come).

The goal of it all is to address the increasing number of users looking to consolidate servers from branch offices and remote sites to central locations. Silver Peak and others are looking to improve the performance of data transferred across these networks.

This Mountain View, California-based startup company Silver Peak enters this space with three new devices, the 1U NX-2500, which is aimed at branch offices, the 2U NX-3500, which is targeted at small data centers, and the 3U NX-7500 for large data centers.

Typically, an NX-7500 would be located in the corporate data center, speeding up network traffic to an NX-3500 or NX-2500 at a remote site. Each of the appliances contains storage for saving the byte patterns of data transferred across the network. This ranges from half a terabyte on the NX-2500, up to two terabytes on the NX-7500. By storing the byte patterns, the idea is that the devices dont have to send the same information time and again.Even though Silver Peak stores byte patterns, spokespeople say the devices are capable of transferring any type of data. This is a broader approach than that taken by Wide-Area File Services (WAFS) vendors, which focus more heavily on sharing files across a network and use a file cache to help transport traffic (see Expand Wakes Up to WAFS, Swan Revamps WAN/WAFS Kit and Riverbed Fords WAN/WAFS Divide).

Silver Peak is up against established vendors in the WAN optimization space, such as Packeteer Inc. (Nasdaq: PKTR), which has racked up more than 7,000 customers. Undeterred, Rick Tinsley, Silver Peak’s CEO, insists that “the market is still wide open.” He says that until now, users have tended to deploy WAN optimization technologies on something of an ad hoc basis. “They have deployed on only a few links, not their entire enterprise,” he says. “We think that’s going to change.”

At least one analyst thinks Silver Peak's chances are solid. “If this can handle a range of different requirements, whether applications or data, it could really enable cost savings and consolidation,” says Cindy Borovick, program director at analyst firm IDC. “There’s a certain set of customers that are willing to take a chance on startup vendors."

Tinsley refused to reveal how many customers are using Silver Peak’s technology. So far, the startup has only publicly announced two users -- Verity Inc. and Baker Hill.

Silver Peak was founded last year by David Hughes, a former senior architect at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and StrataCom.The startup clinched $12.5 million in Series A funding last year from Benchmark Capital and Greylock.

There are no plans to go out for another round in the near future. According to Tinsley, “We’re well funded for now.” However, the startup is planning to significantly grow its 40-strong workforce during the coming months. “I expect it to be close to 100 by the end of next year,” predicts the CEO.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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