Silver Peak Drives Home Coordination’s Benefits with Data Center Optimization

B. Washburn
B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Silver Peak optimizes loads between data centers by deploying WAN optimization software and VMware integration that reaches beyond vCenter.
  • This is not great news for WAN providers, as the data center innovation treats the WAN as a static commodity.

My last blog addressed the elements of building intelligent networks.  It bemoaned that the managed service elements that could go into end-to-end services visibility and control are a largely uncoordinated patchwork.  Well, it looks like WAN optimization vendor Silver Peak has been thinking along the same lines.  The vendor took a step forward by embedding its WAN optimization solutions inside VMware vCenter.  An IT manager that needs to connect workloads across data centers can access vCenter, select from the list of virtual machines and workloads, and click-to-activate/deactivate WAN optimization for selected applications.  VMware vCenter launches a Silver Peak tab that displays information about the application flows being optimized.  To make this technique work, the company can’t rely on placing hardware everywhere.  Instead, Silver Peak lets customers load its WAN optimization software to run on virtual machines residing at each end of their cloud applications.  Besides getting its application plugged into VMware vCenter, Silver Peak controls VMware’s switching between virtual machines in the cloud, to optimize the connection between Silver Peak’s WAN optimization instance and the targeted application to be accelerated.  Silver Peak is unlikely to remain a lone player for long for this type of solution.

Unfortunately, this type of innovation isn’t great news for managed network services providers.  Large carriers have looked at WAN optimization as an element of complex networking problems, one which needs a professional services engagement and ongoing managed services to address properly.  With respect to optimizing global enterprise networks that run many applications to many endpoints, they’re right.  However, if an administrator reduces workload optimization between data centers to just a point and click – and applies changes in data center connectivity without involving the WAN – it reinforces a precedent that does network providers no favors.  That precedent is that data centers provide innovative, flexible, dynamic services, but the WAN is static, sitting between these islands of innovation.  Network providers increasingly can bring their own network intelligence from the WAN to bear, with techniques including bandwidth-on-demand and application assured networking.  However, they will need to be proactive about plugging their dynamic services into the fast-moving developments in data center and cloud services.  Otherwise, many cloud vendors may not consider WAN providers integral to the overall solution.

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