Silver Peak Virtual WAN Optimizer Targets Data Center Replication

Silver Peak announced on Tuesday version 4.0 of its operating system and a new virtual appliance for data center replication. Silver Peak's VRX-8 is a virtual WAN optimization appliance built on VMWare ESX and targeted at applications that require data center replication, such as business continuity. The appliance offers a whopping throughput of 1 Gbits/s, the highest claimed rate for any virtual appliance and includes support for popular Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (

November 17, 2010

4 Min Read
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Silver Peak announced on Tuesday version 4.0 of its operating system and a new virtual appliance for data center replication. Silver Peak's VRX-8 is a virtual WAN optimization appliance built on VMWare ESX and targeted at applications that require data center replication, such as business continuity. The appliance offers a whopping throughput of 1 Gbits/s, the highest claimed rate for any virtual appliance and includes support for popular Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) replication applications.

WAN optimizers improve application performance by using various techniques to reduce the amount of data sent over the WAN. Silver Peak has distinguished itself from competing solutions by working at layer three - the IP layer. Competing solution works at layer four - the TCP layer. This enables Silver Peak to accelerate UDP-based protocols, SIP for example. It also protects the Silver Peak from application layer protocol changes that might require changes to the layer 4 interface.

"Silver Peak was instrumental to the success of our international data center build-out," said Mahmoud Harb, Site Operations Manager at CareerBuilder, a Silver Peak customer. With SilverPeak appliances, CareerBuilder "avoided a major WAN upgrade that saved our company hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first few months alone."

Virtual WAN optimizers have added advantages. There's no equipment to ship so they're particularly attractive for hard-to-get to sites, such as overseas offices. Updates and upgrades can also be deployed remotely without any staff intervention in the branch saving time and money, and making it far easier to keep these optimization protocols up to speed.

Today, virtual WAN optimizers can be purchased from Blue Coat, Certeon, NetEx, Riverbed and Silver Peak. The company first entered the virtual WAN optimization space back in June when it announced the VX family of virtual WAN optimizers - VX-1000, VX-2000, VX-3000 and VX-5000. Those products though were targeted at customers looking at fan-out architectures - where IT needs to accelerate the connections between the data center and multiple branch offices. With the 4.0 upgrade, the VX family can run 8,000 simultaneous sessions across a four Mbits/s connection. By contrast, the VRX-8 is limited to just 1,000 simultaneous flows, reflecting the fact that it's intended for site-to-site replication.Silver Peak claims the highest throughput of any virtual appliance - and there's some merit to that claim. Riverbed's Virtual 2050 series can handle 45Mb/s optimized WAN capacity. BlueCoat's Proxy SG VA-20 is specced at max bandwidth of 18 Mb/s. NetEx claims HyperIP scales up to 800 Mb/s.Performance numbers were not available for Certeon's aCelera. At the same time, vendor performance claims should always be viewed skeptically particularly with virtual appliance where other factors, such as the configuration of the server hardware, must also be considered.

The new software release introduces a number of other changes one of which is a better interface. New customizable dashboards in Silver Peak's Global Management System (GMS) enables enterprises to more easily monitor replication performance across the WAN, isolate network issues from storage issues, and more accurately ensure compliance with Recovery Point and Time Objectives (RPO/RTO). Up until the current release, some of the other vendors has UI that were "a little bit more fresh" than Silver Peak's interface, says Brian Crandall, a global systems architect at Nu Skin Enterprise, an over $1 billion healthcare and skin care company with 50 offices worldwide.

Nu Skin relies on a Silver Peak and its MPLS network to support a wide range of enterprise applications, from EMC SRDF/A replication to voice, print, file, email and web applications around the globe. To date the company has deployed 12 Silver Peak appliances with plans to roll out additional appliances as needed. With Silver Peak in place, he's seen "superior" optimization. More specifically, he has been able to accelerate SRDF performance five times and remote printing by ten times. Currently, Nu Skin has not deployed any virtual appliances."

The Silver Peak VRX-8 virtual appliance for data center replication will be available in December, 2010. List price is $69,995.

Silver Peak version 4.0 embedded software and Global Management System will ship with all new Silver Peak NX, VX, and VRX appliances and GMS platforms in December, 2010. At that time, the release will be available as a free upgrade for all Silver Peak customers with a current maintenance contract. 

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