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


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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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The company's go to market strategy is 100 percent through channels, and according to Hughes "Our first natural partners have been big storage vendors. We have resale agreement with Hitachi Data Systems, with EMC, and Dell's storage arm and VMware we are often sold alongside storage."

He claimed that: "Without Silver Peak they would not be able to achieve [long distance] data replication [because communication would be compromised by latency and, potentially packet loss] so we are a real sales enabler for them."

In Australia the company has appointed two distributors: Transition Systems Australia and Observatory Crest Australia and, in New Zealand, Observatory Crest. It has two employees, Neich in Sydney and an engineering manager in Melbourne.

Neich said: "They are helping us build a reseller and systems integrator channel. At present most [resellers] are regionally focussed, city by city." He added that the company was also developing relationships locally with Hitachi, EMC and NetApp. "We have a number of deals brought to us by Hitachi."

Neich said: "According to Frost & Sullivan in the first half of 2010, the ANZ market for WAN optimisation devices was $45 million'¦ and it is growing at between 12-15 percent annually. Service providers make up 25 percent of the market, finance and banking 20 percent, government just under 20 percent and education 10 percent.

"We see the strongest opportunity in Government, I think beyond what F&S is saying. Service providers are curious [about our technology] - it is difficult for them. They see WAN optimisation as cannibalising their revenues, but we are seeing genuine effort to know how they can exploit this technology."

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