Best known for selling WAN optimization hardware and software for accelerating data movement between data centers, remote offices and the cloud, Silver Peak is looking to extend its application-centric focus with a new – and existing – set of offerings intended to unify cloud, Internet, and wide area networks on a single fabric. Dubbed Unity, the WAN fabric will feature automated routing to more than 30 of the most popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, including Box, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce.com.
“We’re stepping beyond WAN optimization,” said Silver Peak SVP Damon Ennis. “We’re letting the IT manager regain the ability to control, manage and optimize the network… it’s a natural extension of our business (WAN optimization).”
The cloud intelligence component makes it unique, according to Andrew Lerner, a research director at Gartner. The fabric correlates information about cloud services and Internet “weather” – Silver Peak’s euphemism for slow or problem areas – to route traffic over a secure, optimal path, a capability which has been difficult to do with traditional IP routing-based techniques.
WAN optimization is about improving the performance of business applications over WAN connections, and the development of the application acceleration market has been driven by customer demand for highly integrated solutions that employ a wide range of techniques to optimize network traffic and that offer scalability and fault tolerance, according to Gartner. It sees the need for application identification/control and both generic and application-specific optimizations to mitigate the impact of network latency on remote application performance. As part of this app-centric movement, the research company said optimization of SaaS applications, such as Office 365, is a key trend that is moving WAN optimization into external data centers or into services.
Other vendors are taking different approaches to dealing with the growth of public cloud services in the enterprise, said Lerner. “WAN opt vendors need to embrace the movement of critical workloads to the cloud and the blurring of technologies that is occurring.”
While Unity is primarily an extension of Silver Peak’s core WAN optimization focus, it does offer another potentially lucrative opportunity in controlling Shadow IT, said Ennis. Referencing a variety of sources, he said most IT (83%) and non-IT (81%) staff admit using non-approved SaaS apps, which opens a major gap in visibility, security and performance across the network.
There’s a large shift away from enterprise-controlled applications, he said. However, as they transition to Internet-controlled apps, SaaS, “they don’t know what they don’t know!”
Silver Peak’s Global Management System (GMS) provides centralized orchestration of WAN deployments, advanced application classification, and detailed performance metrics. This provides IT managers with visibility and control over the deployment and use of cloud services. Right now the company supports the 30 most popular SaaS applications, and it will additional apps either through customer requests, or their popularity, said Ennis.
The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)
Existing customers can build a Unity fabric by upgrading to release 7 of Silver Peak software and subscribing to the new Cloud Intelligence service. New customers must purchase Silver Peak software and subscribe to Unity Cloud Intelligence. Customers can expand their Unity fabric by adding Silver Peak instances in cloud hubs or IaaS providers. The Unity Cloud Intelligence subscription is $5,000 per enterprise, per year and supports any SaaS applications. Silver Peak software instances are available for as little as $551 per year.
Unity currently supports more than 30 of the most popular SaaS applications, including:
Adobe Creative Cloud
Microsoft Office 365
DISCLAIMER: Silver Peak is a client of Wordslingers Ink, the marketing arm of the publishers of IT Trends & Analysis.