NX-3500 pushes your WAN to peak performance
Silver Peak's flexible WAN optimizer folds UDP into the acceleration mix
The NX-3500 includes CIFS and TCP acceleration, much like Riverbed’s Steelhead, but it doesn’t offer any application-specific optimization for MAPI , HTTP, or SQL traffic as Riverbed does. Moreover, unlike Steelhead, it does not perform read-ahead of MAPI or SQL requests, but it will still apply its overall TCP optimization to the traffic to help reduce network chatter. Also missing is any type of WAFS (wide area file services). Silver Peak doesn’t plan to build WAFS into this platform.
UDP for You and Me
Silver Peak does include a feature that separates it from Riverbed. The NX-3500 can accelerate and cache bulk-UDP traffic, such as NFS -- commonly found in Unix and Linux systems -- and Veritas Volume Replicator. Also benefiting from UDP support are real-time voice and video, as well as interactive traffic, such as that of Citrix Presentation Server. UDP traffic is much harder to optimize than TCP because it is usually very sensitive to latency and has no built-in “resiliency” like TCP does. The NX-3500 includes FEC (forward error correction) to help protect sensitive UDP flows by supplying its own error correction to the data streams.
The NX-3500’s reporting is solid, providing tunnel and application graphs and charts showing real-time and historical trends. The Application reports display WAN usage for the top 10 applications as they pass through the appliance. I was able to change the time frame for viewing the reports although I found it limiting. For example, although I could choose a period of “last week,” I could not pick a specific date range. Also, in this release, reports cannot be exported to any other format, such as Excel, PDF, or CSV. Silver Peak did tell me about a global management system coming later this year that will help with collating reports and centrally managing device configurations.
Even though the Silver Peak solution is one of the newest on the market, it performs like a veteran and doesn’t leave out any must-have features. The UDP support is new to this space and allows for even more flexibility in defining an overall optimization scheme. The reporting engine provides enough information to be helpful but could use some improvements. Overall, if you are evaluating WAN optimization solutions, here’s one more to add to your list.