Review: Silver Peak packs superior WAN optimization into a virtual machine

Silver Peak VX virtual appliance matches physical WAN appliances in features and effectiveness

Review: Silver Peak packs superior WAN optimization into a VM

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.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Review: Riverbed 7.0 closes the WAN gap | Stay ahead of advances in mobile technology with InfoWorld's Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

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.

There is a lot to be said for reducing the hardware footprint at a branch or remote office. Power consumption, noise, heat, and space limitations all encourage a minimal physical installation. Many branch offices are being built out using a local virtualization system for file, print, and network services. If you can add WAN acceleration without piling on another device, why wouldn't you?

By deploying a Silver Peak VX/VRX appliance at the branch office on an existing hypervisor, IT gains better WAN performance for the remote users, centralized management of VX/VRX, and no extra hardware to service and maintain. Depending on the VX/VRX appliance and WAN circuit speed, it runs on either VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Xen, or KVM, with only vSphere-based appliances able to scale up to 100Mbps, 200Mbps, or Gigabit WAN capacity. Because of the support for a variety of hypervisors, IT can install a VX appliance on other platforms such as routers, switches, and storage arrays that have virtualization built in.

Test Center Scorecard
  40% 25% 15% 10% 10%  
Silver Peak VX-5000 9 9 8 9 10



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