Virtualized Cloud Acceleration

During a recent Storage Switzerland webinar, we discussed the need for organizations to consider software based approaches to accelerating WAN performance. Interestingly, our polling question revealed that 31% of the webinar participants were trying to determine why there is even a need to implement WAN acceleration technology:

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At a high level, WAN acceleration enables limited WAN links to transfer higher data payloads more reliably and more efficiently. This is becoming increasingly more important due to several factors:

  1. Data growth – data must move between private and public clouds for data protection, and to foster collaborative workflow activity.
  2. Cloud bursting – many organizations want the capability to burst workloads into the cloud during peak activity to augment their onsite infrastructure.
  3. Remote office/branch office connectivity – Remote sites in far-flung global locations need reliable WAN connections to the primary data center and/or to the Internet.
  4. Bandwidth cost – Adding capacity to existing WAN links to accommodate additional data traffic is expensive and there are typically long carrier lead times involved.

Many companies have successfully used WAN acceleration solutions for nearly a decade so from a new adopter’s perspective it is a thoroughly well vetted, mature technology. The question is what is the best way to go about implementing it?

Traditionally, WAN acceleration has been deployed as an appliance, however, virtualization initiatives are driving the demand for software based approaches to infrastructure management. After all, most data centers have excess x86 resource capacity throughout their virtualization infrastructure which could easily host a WAN acceleration virtual appliance.

Virtual appliances offer many benefits. In addition to leveraging existing server resources, it is much easier to deploy a software solution in the data center. This is particularly true for remote and branch offices where there are shipping costs, import duties and logistical challenges with deploying a hardware appliance.

Virtual WAN accelerators also enable administrators to select at a virtual machine (VM) level which applications are most deserving of faster WAN connection speeds. Hardware appliances, on the other hand, can only accelerate WAN connections at a server level; this could make it challenging to ensure network connection quality of service (QoS) for critical business systems when multiple VMs are competing for limited bandwidth.

Longer term, the benefit of taking a software defined approach to WAN acceleration will be plainly evident as organizations start utilizing private and public cloud infrastructure. The ability to seamlessly migrate virtualized application workloads into the cloud will only be possible if WAN connections can transmit data efficiently and reliably. Virtual WAN acceleration solutions, like those from Silver Peak, help groom WAN connections to ensure that there is zero latency caused by packet errors and packet re-transmissions. It also utilizes data deduplication to eliminate redundant data packets and increase the effective bandwidth available to your applications.

These are just a few of the topics covered in our on-demand version of the webinar we held with Silver Peak’s Senior Vice President of Products, Damon Ennis and Storage Switzerland’s founder and lead analyst, George Crump. Please go to the following link to view the webinar:

silverpeak jan 2014

Silver Peak is a client of Storage Switzerland

As a 22 year IT veteran, Colm has worked in a variety of capacities ranging from technical support of critical OLTP environments to consultative sales and marketing for system integrators and manufacturers. His focus in the enterprise storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions space extends from mainframe and distributed computing environments across a wide range of industries.

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