Sitting atop the Visionary segment of the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers, Silver Peak Systems is continuing its assault upon the only two companies ranked ahead of it – Riverbed Technology (Leader) and Cisco (Challenger) – with a guarantee to upgrade its customers from hardware to software appliances, anytime, for free. This is a lifetime investment protection program that allows our hardware customers to freely transition to an equivalent Silver Peak virtual software product at any time for free, said new CEO David Hughes.
Virtualization provides undeniable cost and flexibility benefits, but many customers are still navigating their way toward virtualized network services, he said. When organizations are ready to make the switch to virtual, we have them covered.
“No matter where they are on that continuum… they all agree that everything is moving to virtual, especially in this area of WAN optimization.” With our software upgrade for life, customers can buy hardware today knowing they can easily convert to virtual when they’re ready., he said.
Referencing data from TRAC Research, Hughes said the WANop market is at an inflection point. While only 25% use virtual appliances, 42% plan to do so, while 26% use software clients and 39% plan to deploy them. The lion’s share still belongs to hardware appliances, which account for 64% of the market, but only 26% are planning to deploy them.
Dell’Oro Group believes most of the revenue growth in the WAN optimization market will be driven by virtual appliances, said Hughes. Their recent report notes that “virtual WANOP appliances provide greater flexibility in application optimization and data access in the cloud as well as between disparate data centers and branch offices.”
According to the IDC Worldwide Datacenter Network 2013-2017 Forecast and Analysis (doc# 241281, May 2013), “As virtualization and cloud continue to grow, enterprises will seek to leverage virtualized network and security services to align better with virtualized application workloads. In this context, enterprise IT departments will seek to tap the service velocity and flexibility of the virtual form factor.” Additionally, Dell’Oro Group’s Q4 2012 Data Center Appliance Report cites that the market for virtual WAN optimization will grow by 100% in 2013, while the overall market is only expected to grow by 6%.
Unlike its bigger competitors, Silver Peak decided early on that virtualization and a software-based approach to WAN optimization were the way to go. Last quarter over half of the units the company sold were virtual, he said. “Customers prefer Silver Peak’s software because it radically reduces deployment complexity and lowers the total cost of ownership by more than 50% when compared to competitive hardware-based offerings.”
However, Hughes views the company’s current success as half-empty, as opposed to half-full. “Our goal is to help customers with their transitions. If 50% of the units were software, that means 50% were hardware… so it’s really about helping them… accelerate to virtual. They can move one year from now, two years from… and not have to worry about their investment. It’s about driving the market and allowing them to take advantage of software as quickly as possible.”
Less than a month ago the company made its cloud-ready WAN optimization VX software available in hourly increments directly from Amazon Web Services via the AWS Marketplace. Overprovisioning is a way of life for public cloud customers, according to 451 Research, and there is a clear opportunity to help organizations improve their resource utilization and VM sizing with the potential for significant savings in capital and operational costs.
With utility pricing, AWS customers only pay for the WAN optimization they need, and the cost-savings can be significant, said the company. In some cases WANop can result in up to 80% cost savings versus wide area network connections that aren’t optimized. Amazon is first, but Silver Peak is looking at a variety of cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, as well as some private cloud providers like OpenStack.
All these moves are intended to bring to bear the company’s advantages in the move towards a virtual world, said Hughes, and should appeal to both existing as well as new customers. It becomes part of the decision when somebody is buying hardware. “I think this is just one more step, one more proof point of the path we’re on using software to change the WAN optimization market.”
NX-series hardware (x700 model) customers with a valid maintenance contract can be converted to an equivalent VX-series virtual software product at any time, free of charge, by simply logging into the Silver Peak support portal and click the button “Convert to Virtual.” New customers can download a free, fully-functional trial with full support by visiting the Silver Peak software marketplace.
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