WAN optimization specialist Silver Peak Systems this week made across-the-board updates to its application acceleration platform, boosting the features in both its physical and virtual products.
Silver Peak's Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) release 6.0 expands the company's hypervisor support bend VMware to now include Microsoft Hyper V and KVM instances.
"Microsoft and Citrix both improved the I/O," said Rick Tinsley, Silver Peak's president and CEO. "It's been a problem with all the virtualization environments: even if you get the CPUs to do what you need to, getting data in and out of the virtual machine can be a challenge compared to a dedicated hardware appliance. VMware was there first, and that gave them a pretty big advantage on the competitors. But the others, Microsoft in particular, have closed the gap."
[Related: Silver Peak Sharpens WAN Op Channel Chops]
Silver Peak also now offers jumbo frame acceleration, meaning frames up to 9,000 bytes commonly used in high-performance data replication. Tinsley said that puts it well ahead of competitors that support standard 1,500-byte WAN acceleration.
"WAN services just don't support jumbo packets," Tinsley explained. "So this is yet another way we're compensating for WAN limitations to make applications run faster."
In addition, Silver Peak is now offering a plug-in to accelerate workloads directly from Citrix XenCenter -- a move it hinted at following a similar announcement with VMware back in August -- and can also now enable quick deployment of Silver Peak virtual machines within Amazon's Web Services Marketplace. Silver Peak's WAN management platform, Global Management System, is also now based on HTML5, meaning easy access from a range of desktop and mobile devices.
Silver Peak built its channel bona fides through relationships in the storage channel, particularly with large vendors like EMC and Dell. But in 2011, it launched an updated channel program, Silver Peak Champions, and has been appealing to a wider range of partners, as well as building significant industry buzz as an alternative to Riverbed and other more established WAN op players.
One of Silver Peak's most important moves, Tinsley said, was the February launch of its Virtual WAN Optimization Marketplace, an online site through which customers can access all of Silver Peak's virtual WAN op appliances using a free 30-day trial license.
Given how quickly virtualization is changing the rules of the data center performance market, Tinsley said it's reasonable to think 50 percent of Silver Peak's sales will be virtual products by the end of next year. The company overall is growing revenue more than 40 percent sequentially.
"Most of our customers are starting to selectively do their deployments as software," Tinsley said. "In larger enterprises, there are heterogeneous environments where in some cases they are going to want appliances. But there is a mix, and in some cases, there's also diversity in terms of the hypervisors used. We've reached the point where you need to support all of the hypervisors."
That expansion has allowed Silver Peak to attract certain partners who wouldn't otherwise be interested in selling hardware boxes, he said.
"A lot of our newer partners are very software-oriented, and some new channel partners only sell the virtual products," Tinsley said. "It makes sense."
PUBLISHED DEC. 4, 2012