Is there anything real anymore? Virtual servers, virtual desktops, cloud storage -- what happened to good old steel boxes you could set a user's manual on? Oh wait, even documentation is software now. Is it too much to ask for a 2U chassis that pumps out 2,000 BTUs while forcing anyone nearby to don ear protection from its jet-engine cooling fans?
WAN acceleration and optimization appliances joined the virtual age a short while ago, but there always seemed to be issues with capacity and performance when compared to a high-powered physical appliance. Stuffing a WAN acceleration appliance, with its need for lots of disk I/O operations and network bandwidth, into a virtual host also running file, print, and database servers didn't seem like a good fit.
One company that has overcome the fit and performance issues is Silver Peak with its VX and VRX virtual machines. Silver Peak has been able to spin the same feature set and performance of its physical appliances into virtual appliances. The VX and VRX appliances span a wide range of WAN capacity and TCP connections, from 2Mbps up to 1Gbps. There's even a limited capacity (but full featured) free version. The VX and VRX appliances run on a variety of hypervisors and can be part of a fault-tolerant redundant system for maximum uptime.