Silver Peak Brings Data Acceleration Software To VMware's NSX

Silver Peak VMware's new network virtualization technology,

Unveiled Monday at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, NSX is being touted as a game-changer by VMware, paving the way for virtualized data center networks by transforming the high-end features of switches, routers and other networking gear into software.

Silver Peak, Santa Clara, Calif., joins Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks and Brocade as vendors whose offerings will integrate with NSX.

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Silver Peak, for its part, is coupling its Agility data acceleration software with VMware NSX, allowing for the redirection and optimization of traffic between different virtual machines without having to manually configure routers or other networking hardware. The result of this software-based approach, according to Silver Peak, is the ability for network administrators to optimize the performance of individual workloads as they shift between different data centers, remote offices and the cloud.

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According to Silver Peak CEO David Hughes, users can leverage the Agility software to redirect virtual machine traffic through a simple point-and-click system.

"We've been working closely with VMware to integrate with some of their software-defined data center APIs that come under the NSX umbrella so that we can redirect traffic from any workload to any other virtual machine, including our own virtual machines running our Silver Peak software," Hughes told CRN. "And what this lets us do is basically point-and-click workload optimization with no need to understand networking or what's going on behind the scenes."

Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Silver Peak partner, said the integration of Silver Peak's Agility software helps evolve the NSX platform beyond basic network virtualization services.

"VMware has announced the platform for taking basic network services and decoupling them from the physical data center," Tanenhaus said in an email to CRN. "With Agility, Silver Peak has stepped up and shown us how to extend network virtualization beyond basic services, providing enhanced quality of service between workloads, hypervisors, clusters and data centers."

Hughes said Silver Peak's integration with NSX underscores the company's ongoing transformation from a hardware-focused WAN optimization player to a software-focused one. Silver Peak in 2010 launched what it called the industry's first "data center-class" virtual WAN optimization appliance, the VRX-8. About 50 percent of all appliances shipped by Silver Peak today are virtual, according to Hughes.

That said, Hughes noted that the integrated Agility-NSX environment is purpose-built for software-defined data centers, meaning it may take customers several months to ramp up with the product.

"It may be six months to 12 months before it starts to get picked up by people in a broader sense," Hughes said.

Software-defined networking has been the buzz of the networking world for the past year, with vendors such as VMware positioning virtualized networks as a means to provision applications more quickly and make data center infrastructures more flexible and efficient. Research firm IDC projects the SDN market to be worth $3.7 billion by 2016.