Silver Peak Systems heated up July with an announcement saying you could run its virtual WAN optimization software anywhere. That meant Silver Peak’s WAN optimization solution, traditionally packaged in the form of a box, was not only opened up to run on a virtual server, but any third-party network or storage device that runs a hypervisor. Today, the company supports all the common hypervisors including VMware VSphere, Citrix Xen, Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM.
Joining the hypervisor-enabled product line-up is HP’s 5400zl branch office switch, which runs in both VMware vSphere and Citrix Xen environments. This switch is one of many elements announced recently in addition to its HP FlexNetwork architecture, which contains HP’s expanded HP FlexBranch portfolio. The switch gives enterprises more flexibility in optimizing branch office traffic through virtual means.
All of the virtual appliances will work natively on the blade on top of the hypervisors, explains Larry Cormier, senior vice president of marketing at Silver Peak. That means everything from Silver Peak’s VX-000 to its VX-5000 — not to mention Silver Peak’s free VX-Xpress WAN optimization software — is supported on HP’s 5400zl.
What’s interesting about the announcement is its two industry firsts:
1. The HP 5400zl is the first branch office switch that has a blade built in, allowing it to support not only multiple applications on top of the switch, but multiple hypervisors.
2. Silver Peak is the first to offer virtual WAN optimization on a Xen server hypervisor.
Naturally, Silver Peak’s WAN optimization was a good fit for a switch with multiple hypervisors and applications, since optimizing any hypervisor on any network platform was the crux of Silver Peak’s VXOA strategy. However, Citrix has been working to accelerate its own virtual desktop solutions. Enterprises will have to consider the technology used across their wide area network (WAN) before deciding on a solution.
“A lot of our customers have used our [Silver Peak] products for a long time to accelerate the virtual desktop products from Citrix — especially the ICA stuff. So we’ve always had a ‘meet in the customer environment’ partnership [with Citrix]…. [But] Citrix has some of their own WAN optimization solutions that they are now starting to build into some of their desktop virtualization solutions,” Cormier says with a sigh. But until that solution arrives, enterprises have the ability to virtually optimize Xen traffic across a WAN, today.