Home Data Centre Optimisation WAN optimisation specialist Silver Peak comes to Australia

Silver Peak Systems, a US company specialising in wide area network optimisation, has opened an office in Australia under the leadership of Wayne Neich, former head of Australian operations for rival WAN optimisation company, Blue Coat.

Silver Peak specialises in the 'high end' of the WAN optimisation market, optimising links between data centres rather than between data centres and branch offices and, unlike other major players, such as Riverbed, aims to deliver optimisation by focussing on the underlying IP protocols rather than application specific protocols, although it does optimise some very widely used 'generic' protocols such as Microsoft's CIFS and SSL.

The company claims that "Only Silver Peak appliances can optimise all IP traffic, regardless of transport protocol and application version. This has resulted in Silver Peak becoming a key enabler for disaster recovery, data centre consolidation, data migration, server centralisation, virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI), and other key IT initiatives."

Silver Peak was founded in 2004 by New Zealander David Hughes - who obtained a PhD from the University of Wollongong - and who is now its CTO. Speaking at a launch function in Sydney he said: "We started with the very big links and rather than trying to fix things one application at a time with a lot of application specific intelligence we started at the bottom of the network stack, doing things that are very generic.

"Our approach is 'What is it about your network that is making your application run slowly.' We are looking at things like latency, packet loss and fixing things at that level first." He added: "Our strategy has been to focus on the data centre first and that has proved to be a more strategic beachhead to own'¦And we are 100 percent focussed on WAN optimisation - we have no other distractions."

The company boasts an impressive client list of global data-intensive companies, headed by Apple, Google, Yahoo! and eBay. According to Hughes, Google has deployed Silver Peak throughout its global infrastructure. In the US it has been deployed between data centres by the country's to largest telcos: AT&T and Verizon.

The company also claims to be unique among WAN optimisation vendors in employing forward error correction to correct bit errors at the physical-layer. According to Hughes, even a small percentage of packet loss can have a serious impact on a high speed link. "Just 0.1 percent packet loss on a 1Gbps link could reduce throughput to as little as 7Mbps on a link from Sydney to Perth. People really under estimate the impact of packet loss."


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Stuart Corner


Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.