Jim Metzler, of Ashton, Metzler & Associates moderated a session today at Interop Las Vegas 2010 about the emergence of virtualized application delivery appliances, both wan optimization controllers (WOCs) and application delivery controllers (ADCs). Panelists included representatives of Citrix, F5 Networks, Certeon, A10 Networks and Blue Coat
In the video below, Jim summarizes the hour-long discussion. Bottom line, Jim said vendors agreed that virtual appliances cost about one-third of their physical appliance counterparts, and are often available in a pay-as-you-go model.
The conversation also focused on the need to support multiple hypervisors, not just VMware. This was based on an impromptu survey of session attendees. Nearly all of them said they are using VMware in their infrastructure today, but almost none of them think they will be using exclusively VMware in the future. Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen will find their way into the enterprise, and virtual WOCs and ADCs will have to adapt to this.
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Beyond what Jim said, one other thing I heard: Many of the vendors offer both hardware-based and virtual ADCs and WOCs. Vendors like Citrix and F5 believe that enterprises will continue to deploy a combination of virtual and physical appliances over time. They will deploy them in a two-tiered architecture. In places where sheer performance is the priority, enterprises will use hardware-based products, but in places where features and functionality are the priority and performance isn’t a major concern, enterprises will deploy virtual appliances.