Silver Peak Plans Scale-Up

Startup prepares to launch high-speed WAN optimization device

October 4, 2007

3 Min Read
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WAN optimization startup Silver Peak is planning to bulk up its hardware with a high-speed, high-end enterprise device, according to CEO Rick Tinsley.

Speaking after a Silver Peak sales seminar in New York today, Tinsley explained that users are desperate to speed up traffic traveling over their WAN links. "Our vision is that in five years time, there won't be anymore T-1 links; it will all be broadband links of one sort of another," he said.

The as-yet-unnamed device, which will be part of Silver Peak's NX-family of WAN optimization products, will offer Gigabit-per-second throughput, according to the CEO. "That's full duplex with all the features turned on -- its vastly higher performance than what is available on the market today," he said.

Silver Peak's current high-end offering, the NX-8500, offers 500-Mbit/s application throughput, supporting the likes of TCP optimization, quality of service, compression, and data reduction.

Rival Riverbed's top-of-the-line 6020 has a throughput of 310-Mbit/s, and Juniper's maximum throughput for its WXC devices is 155-Mbit/s, although both Silver Peak and Riverbed claim a figure of 800-Mbit/s for their offerings running with some of the features turned off.The Silver Peak CEO would not reveal when the high-speed device will be launched, although he reiterated the vendor's desire to target enterprise data centers as opposed to branch offices. "WAN acceleration used to be about making email and file access better for users in branch offices -- that's a small part of the overall picture," he said. "What you're seeing now is some clarity in the market and different vendors focusing on different segments."

Riverbed, which went public in a blaze of publicity just over a year ago, nonetheless built its success on selling its products into branch offices, a strategy which some analysts have urged Silver Peak to emulate.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup, which entered the WAN optimization market just over three years ago, has managed to rack up over 100 customers, although this figure is somewhat dwarfed by Riverbed's 2,000-plus customers.

If Tinsley is bothered, he is not showing it. "We're not really in a race to get to 1,000 or 5,000 customers -- our revenue per customer is larger than our competitors," he said.

Like Riverbed, Silver Peak is also focusing its attention on SSL data. Earlier this year, Riverbed announced an upgrade of its RiOS WAN optimization software to speed up SSL encrypted data, and Silver Peak will soon be adding the ability to terminate SSL traffic to its NX Series devices. The data will be stored on encrypted hard drives within the appliances, according to Tinsley.Although not yet profitable, the CEO said that Silver Peak's $43 million of VC funding should last into 2008, when the firm will likely go out for its Series D round.

The vendor, which is one of just a handful of WAN optimization startups that have not been acquired by a larger firm, has had no shortage of "suitors," according to Tinsley. "There have certainly been people that have expressed interest over time," he said, without naming names. "[But] our view of the market and our view of our prospects tended to be quite different from our prospective suitors."

The CEO refused to be drawn on whether Silver Peak's end-game involves being acquired or even an IPO. "I don't have a crystal ball -- we feel that we're doing very well, we're growing very rapidly," he said. "We're just focused on serving our customers and growing our business."

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  • Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR)

  • Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD)

  • Silver Peak Systems Inc.0

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