RealTime IT News

Vendors Push WAN Metal Wares

The business of making WANs and applications run faster over the same pipe is a hotly contested business.

Vendors such as Juniper Networks , Silver Peak, Riverbed , Blue Coat and Citrix are among those vying for a piece of the multi-billion dollar market. Each has new products just out or close to release.

Juniper is set to announce next week updates to its WAN and application acceleration solutions. At the heart of Juniper's updates are new operating systems that power the acceleration appliances.

On the WAN side, it's called WXOS version 5.4, which now includes complete multicast and Layer 2 support for the WCCPv2 (Web cache control protocol), according to Juniper.

The WCCPv2 support is expected to enable multiple Juniper WX and WXC platforms to have better load-balancing capabilities for greater availability and overall load.

The management side of the equation is being improved in Juniper's WX CMS 5.4 software, which provides management and configuration tools.

The software now boasts a new event-management console to help users track their acceleration systems' performance.

Juniper is also improving its application-acceleration DXOS system in version 5.2, with simplified security, SA load balancing and more visibility into application performance.

As proof that its approach to acceleration is winning converts, Juniper this week issued a press release claiming that Dow Corning was one of its app-acceleration customers.

According to Juniper, by rolling out its DX platform, Dow Corning was able to improve response time by as much as four times, as well as reduce SAP traffic on the network by up to 70 percent.

Juniper declined to comment on the length of deal, its financial terms and against whom it was competing for the Dow Corning business. Juniper's competitors sure are busy with their own set of announcements and products though.

Silver Peak Systems is taking the security position for its new releases.

Next week the WAN optimization vendor is expected to formally announce its Secure Content Architecture, which is a framework for end-to-end security and data privacy in an accelerated WAN environment.

Silver Peak claims that its hardware ensures that line-rate performance isn't impacted because of the enhanced security.

Riverbed just recently had its IPO and three weeks ago announced a slew of new hardware and software.

"With these new hardware releases, we are now able to scale to support up to 1,000,000 simultaneous TCP connections, and each Steelhead appliance is able to peer with up to 4,000 other Steelhead appliances," Alan Saldich, vice president of product marketing at Riverbed, told internetnews.com.

"With RiOS 3.0, we've added to our already broad application-optimization capabilities with NFS support (up to 55X performance improvement), more CIFS capabilities and support for QoS, among other new features."

Citrix rolled out its latest WAN and app acceleration products at the recent Interop NYC event.

One of the key new innovations from Citrix is something called Multi-level Compression technology, which Citrix acquired along with its acquisition of Orbital Data earlier this year.

All told there are a lot of different vendors with lots of new products. Each one of them also has its own claim to fame about why they're better or different than the rest.

"With its recent acquisition of Orbital Data and record breaking product integration with the Citrix WANScaler in September, Citrix continue to validate their leadership in this space with a complete set of solutions for the desktop to the datacenter," Jimmy Chang, product marketing manager for Citrix WANScaler told internetnews.com.

Mike Banic, Juniper's senior director of the applications products group, noted that on a feature level, a key differentiator is visibility and reporting.

He said central management solutions from the competitors pale in comparison to Juniper's feature-rich WX CMS software.

Riverbed sees its revenues as being proof positive of what it is doing better than its competitors.

"We respect our competitors and maintain a healthy degree of paranoia about their actions," said Alan Saldich, vice president of product marketing at Riverbed.

"That said, Riverbed has more customers, more revenue (from relevant wide-area data services products), faster revenue growth and more awards than any other vendor in the space, and we remain confident that we will maintain that lead."

To add further confusion to the rapidly accelerating acceleration space, research firm Gartner just released its Magic Quadrant on the space.

Blue Coat issued a press release about its placement in the "Visionaries" quadrant; Juniper and Riverbed issued press releases about their respective placements in the "Leaders" quadrant.

"Clearly, the application delivery and WAN optimization space is heating up, with all the major vendors making announcements to solidify their position in this growing market," Citrix's Chang said.