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1 I D C T E C H N O L O G Y S P O T L I G H T T h e R o l e o f Virtual WAN Optimization in the Next- Generation D a t a c e nter December 2012 Adapted from Worldwide WAN Application Delivery Forecast and Analysis, IDC # Sponsored by Silver Peak Systems Growing data volumes, offsite data replication, and the increasing use of content-rich applications and Big Data are requiring IT organizations to optimize available network resources. Trends such as virtualization and cloud computing further reinforce this requirement. To help with this process, companies are increasingly relying on a new generation of software-based WAN optimization capabilities that are displacing standalone physical appliances by offering more scalability, flexibility, and manageability. An optimized WAN environment can increase network reliability and availability and improve cost profiles. It also improves the performance and reliability of data backup, replication, and recovery processes. This Technology Spotlight examines these trends and the role that Silver Peak's product offerings play in this important emerging market. Introduction The advent of increasingly complex and content-rich applications, increasing distances between data and employees, and stricter corporate policies for data retention and backup underscore the need for IT organizations to implement capabilities designed to optimize available network resources. This trend is being reinforced by strong growth in the sheer volume of data traversing today's WANs between datacenters, disaster recovery sites, and the cloud. Datacenter IT dynamics are evolving rapidly as the result of several factors, including the rise of virtualization, which results in significant cost savings, as well as the advent of cloud-based computing, which creates unparalleled new efficiencies. Server virtualization has been widely deployed in datacenters and is continuing to show strong growth at over 30% per year. However, both trends add increasing demands to the enterprise network, which is the foundation for new datacenter architectures. To keep this deluge of network traffic from degrading the end-user experience and affecting business productivity, companies are increasingly relying on a new generation of software-based WAN optimization tools and capabilities. While WAN optimization solutions have been deployed traditionally as standalone physical appliances, virtualized (software-based) WAN optimization is increasingly popular for reasons that include cost savings as well as enhanced operational flexibility and management. What's more, as hypervisors from major suppliers evolve and off-the-shelf hardware becomes more powerful, enterprises are discovering that software-based WAN optimization, once limited mainly to branch offices, also can support the performance and scalability requirements of the datacenter. Indeed, just as server virtualization brought tremendous benefits to datacenters and cloud computing over the past few years, virtualized WAN optimization is now providing similarly compelling value in and between datacenters. A major cable service provider, for example, has deployed software-based WAN optimization between datacenters on a 10Gbps WAN. Application owners are also looking at virtual solutions for workload optimization, while storage teams are looking to accelerate offsite replication. These increasingly virtualized environments are ultimately driving the need for software-defined networking (SDN). This is an approach that will change how IDC 1432

2 infrastructure is deployed and managed in the years ahead, with networks becoming virtualized, programmable, and more responsive to the needs of the applications that run on them. Virtualized WAN optimization complements and contributes to this trend, sharing the same underlying principles that are driving the appeal of SDN. In fact, just as SDN controllers leverage plug-ins to integrate with cloud management platforms, virtualized WAN optimization solutions feature plug-ins that allow integration with virtualization managers from major suppliers. Typical WAN optimization solutions must have the following features: Bandwidth optimization including compression of data streams using deduplication or caching Congestion management including traffic shaping and prioritization Loss mitigation to fix dropped or out-of-order packets Latency mitigation via TCP acceleration Ability to monitor application and network performance for bandwidth, latency, and loss WAN optimization tools are becoming more flexible, agile, and virtualization-friendly to accommodate all of these key trends. Key Trends in WAN Optimization IDC projects that the WAN application delivery market will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4% over the five-year forecast period from 2011 to 2016, reaching $1.8 billion by The following factors will contribute to this growth: Growing data volumes and the need to move that data over greater distances Increased adoption of virtualization in the datacenter Globalization of the enterprise Ongoing private cloud and application centralization efforts The need to provide the same end-user experience for remote employees Virtual desktop infrastructure deployments Network managers' requirements to support both business and consumer video Public cloud services growth The proliferation of all content types on the network The demand for application visibility to prioritize and secure network traffic Support for growing managed services opportunities The IT market has shifted to a new phase with IT managers continuing to invest in the technology. The average IT manager is juggling a multitude of challenges, including: The requirement to provide real-time data transmission between multiple datacenters Regular backup of data to and from distributed sites for disaster recovery Reducing infrastructure costs and avoiding hardware refresh cycles IDC

3 Adding new Big Data projects to the list of mission-critical systems Handling skyrocketing Internet usage Delivering content to increasingly distributed sites including branches and remote users Supporting the high-bandwidth requirements of desktop video and videoconferencing Supporting VoIP and other unified communications (UC) applications that are latency sensitive and require appropriate quality of service Timely and efficient security and application updates for distributed desktops Meeting business needs for data analytics and real-time data in support of business intelligence Drivers for WAN Optimization A key accelerator of network performance is Big Data. The widespread adoption of Big Data technologies has only begun, but emerging trends suggest the development of a fast-growing market. IDC expects the Big Data technology and services market to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in Big Data software is typically deployed leveraging the Apache Hadoop framework. In Big Data topologies, the enterprise network is the foundation for transactions between massively parallel servers, server clusters, and existing enterprise storage systems. The huge amounts of data that need to be transported increase real-time usage. As a result, the enterprise network connecting information sources and processing must be robust enough to make sure the data can move quickly and efficiently. WAN optimization technology can play an important role in achieving this goal. The increased use of real-time applications is also having an impact on the network. VoIP and UC applications are growing quickly in enterprise adoption. As is the case with video, VoIP is highly sensitive to jitter, packet loss, and latency even though it uses nominal bandwidth. Greater use of video is another critical trend. The importance of video in the enterprise network has become a permanent reality for IT organizations. What started as a part of social networking and recreational video consumption (e.g., YouTube video downloads) is now penetrating the enterprise in the form of desktop video, videoconferencing, telepresence, video surveillance, and other applications. Multimedia applications can present numerous challenges for distributed enterprises since video on demand, streaming video, and audio streaming are sensitive to jitter and packet loss. In addition, both video on demand and streaming video consume substantial bandwidth. This can quickly fill up the entire WAN link, severely limiting the scalability of services and the number of concurrent sessions available. WAN optimization also minimizes the risk of exposure by improving the performance and reliability of data backup, offsite replication, and recovery processes. Recovery point objectives (RPOs) can be difficult to achieve across a WAN since backup involves the transfer of large volumes of data over longer distances with mixed degrees of network quality. Many business continuity tasks react poorly when in the presence of high latency, resulting in application timeouts and database synchronization problems. WAN optimization overcomes these challenges by reducing the amount of data sent across the WAN during the backup and restore processes and delivering information locally whenever possible to accelerate application response time. The software enables more data to be protected across the WAN without adding costly bandwidth and by minimizing latency and packet loss. Virtualized (i.e., softwarebased) WAN optimization solutions offer additional benefits over and above those described previously IDC 3

4 An optimized WAN environment can increase reliability, availability, performance, scalability, and virtual machine management. WAN optimization reduces the amount of traffic sent across the WAN and delivers information locally whenever possible. This improves the costs associated with application delivery, including infrastructure, application software, and WAN bandwidth expenditures. In some cases, IT organizations can switch to lower-cost WAN services. WAN optimization also protects investments in business-critical applications by ensuring that they meet end-user performance objectives. In addition, it can be used to consolidate datacenters and eliminate point products. Exploring the Benefits of Software-Based WAN Optimization WAN optimization tools and capabilities are changing to accommodate all of these key trends. The legacy paradigm for WAN optimization involved point-to-point hardware-based solutions often implemented at the branch office level. However, a more flexible and agile next-generation approach is evolving that extends this capability into other IT domains and, at the same time, meshes well with the unique requirements of virtualized environments. This approach uses industry-standard servers or software embedded in network devices rather than purpose-built hardware. It also aligns with SDN, as described previously. The combination of network and application intelligence found in WAN optimization solutions can optimize datacenter and network infrastructure as the trends described in the previous section continue to evolve. Virtualization and next-generation cloud architectures are placing an increased burden on the network in terms of reliability, scalability, and resiliency. WAN optimization can help enterprise network performance adapt to these requirements. It also supports easier consolidation and simplified deployment models to reduce operational costs. Because IT organizations need solutions that can easily fit into their virtual environments to make them more efficient, the ability to capture the benefits of cloud and virtualization requires agility and flexibility from WAN optimization software. Software can be downloaded and easily deployed anywhere, whereas a hardware-based approach to WAN optimization can present its own set of logistical issues. Virtualized, cloud-based systems are also easier to deploy and manage. Hardware refreshes can be eliminated, and subscription pricing options provide increased flexibility to eliminate difficult lease-versus-buy decisions. Software-based WAN optimization ultimately enables true workload optimization via the use of a hypervisor. Considering Silver Peak's Technology and Solutions Silver Peak Systems is a key vendor in the data acceleration market. The company is known for making a high-performance, high-capacity WAN optimizer with a focus on improving backup, replication, and recovery between datacenters, as well as facilitating branch-office server and storage centralization by improving WAN performance. A combination of factors is contributing to the company's revenue growth. Most notably, Silver Peak's software-based architecture has allowed it to easily embrace virtualization with comprehensive hypervisor support and scalability. Further, Silver Peak's ability to accelerate all IP traffic allows network managers to manage the various workloads on their enterprise networks. Silver Peak products are powered by the same Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) software and can be deployed as physical or virtual appliances intended to maximize WAN performance while minimizing costs. These include: VX appliances software-only virtual versions that can be deployed on any standard hypervisor NX appliances standalone physical devices running the same software that sits between network resources and the WAN infrastructure used to connect them to remote users IDC

5 Agility plug-ins software plug-ins that enable workload acceleration from within virtualization management platforms from major suppliers Velocity software a combination of product, pricing, packaging, and deployment models designed to allow "storage administrators" to accelerate offsite replication workloads quickly and easily Silver Peak VXOA software is intended to provide secure and scalable performance improvements across enterprise applications, including virtualization, data replication, and cloud computing. VXOA supports NX and VX products and includes: Network Memory technology to reduce the amount of data traversing the WAN Network Acceleration techniques to overcome WAN latency Network Integrity features to mitigate the effects of packet loss across the WAN VXOA also includes advanced features for integration with third-party products such as routers, switches, servers, and storage arrays. This integration allows WAN optimization capability to be widely deployed across an enterprise. Silver Peak offers a management system called the Global Management System (GMS). The product gives IT managers detailed visibility into all aspects of application delivery across a distributed enterprise, including performance statistics, application analysis, and various tools for configuring and managing appliances. The Silver Peak solution functions primarily at the network layer, addressing all enterprise applications that leverage TCP and non-tcp protocols. The company's approach accommodates real-time traffic such as data replication, VoIP, and VDI by dealing with lost and out-of-order packets traversing the network. This is done by rebuilding packets in real time and avoiding packet retransmissions, which serves to minimize latency. This feature is especially useful when running real-time traffic over shared WAN environments (e.g., MPLS or Internet VPNs). QoS is used to prioritize traffic and guarantee the right amount of bandwidth to groom traffic as it enters the WAN with the effect of reducing jitter and latency. Silver Peak Auto-Optimization is available for tunneled protocols. Many emerging applications for Big Data and VM mobility rely on non-tcp tunneled protocols such as OTV, UDP-based UDT, VXLAN, and NVGRE. Auto-Optimization is designed to optimize the WAN for these types of non-tcp applications. VXOA automatically discovers the applications requiring optimization, sets up the tunnel, and optimizes application performance by overcoming common WAN obstacles, including bandwidth, distance, and quality. The platform performs all optimizations in real time. As a result, little or no additional latency is added when handling multimedia traffic, and header compression is used to further reduce bandwidth used by real-time applications. Silver Peak's platform is optimized for data replication, network backup, and disaster recovery environments. The company's real-time optimization features are designed to ensure that latency and packet loss do not adversely impact backup and recovery processes and to maximize the amount of data being protected using deduplication. The platform is designed to: Reduce recovery time objectives (RTOs) Reduce recovery point objectives (RPOs) Increase geographic distances between datacenters Reduce WAN bandwidth expenditures 2012 IDC 5

6 Silver Peak's WAN optimization is similarly positioned for cloud deployments. Cloud computing initiatives place an increased emphasis on the network, making them susceptible to the same bandwidth and latency challenges that affect other applications. As such, Silver Peak optimizes the performance of platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Challenges The next generation of IT is being defined by the increased business relevance of the network. This includes rapidly growing data volumes and the need to replicate that data, growing adoption of virtualization in the datacenter, a proliferation of mobile devices, an explosion of video traffic, cloudbased application virtualization, and growing service delivery requirements. All of these trends will ensure that WAN optimization solutions from vendors such as Silver Peak will stay top of mind for enterprise IT managers. However, some challenges remain. The WAN optimization market, while growing at a healthy rate, continues to be a very competitive space, with several vendors staking a claim for leadership and mindshare. While there is significant and growing interest among IT managers to evaluate virtualized WAN optimization solutions, the actual uptake for these deployments in the enterprise and managed services segments is still in its early stages and hence relatively small. As convergence in the datacenter gains greater acceptance, vendors from other tangential networking market segments can be expected to try to broaden their portfolio to address the needs of the WAN optimization market, though that is not expected to be an easy market entry. Conclusion In today's IT environments, network managers are juggling a multitude of challenges for the corporate WAN, including the requirement to provide real-time data transmission between multiple datacenters, delivering content to increasingly distributed sites, and backup of network-intensive applications. Silver Peak is a key vendor in the WAN application delivery market whose NX and VX WAN optimization solutions are intended to address these challenges by optimizing the enterprise network for these and other applications. Silver Peak has embraced virtualization with comprehensive hypervisor support and scalability. In addition, its products are uniquely designed to be deployed at many critical points in the network infrastructure. To the extent that Silver Peak can meet the challenges described in this paper, the company and its product family are well positioned for continued success in the WAN optimization market. A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I ON This publication was produced by IDC Go-to-Market Services. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented herein are drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendor sponsorship is noted. IDC Go-to-Market Services makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution by various companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee. C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N S Any IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from IDC. For permission requests, contact the GMS information line at or Translation and/or localization of this document requires an additional license from IDC. For more information on IDC, visit For more information on IDC GMS, visit Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA USA P F IDC

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