Orchestrating Apps through Cloudy 'Internet Weather'
Silver Peak Inc. today announced a WAN fabric aimed at unifying enterprise networks with public clouds and optimizing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) traffic by constantly monitoring service performance and orchestrating traffic according to the current "Internet weather."
Called Unity, the "intelligent" fabric provides a complete map of the cloud-connected network and uses new routing technology so enterprises can manage and optimize SaaS connectivity and bypass heavy weather -- or congested paths.
The Unity fabric is a network overlay generated by company software running in data centers, remote offices and cloud interconnection hubs along with the company's Cloud Intelligence Service. The fabric smoothes out connection performance for any combination of services, SaaS applications or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) resources.
Unity instances use data collected by the cloud intelligence -- including the physical locations from which data is being served -- to track metrics such as data loss and network latency, which is then shared with other instances so optimal paths can be selected for any user to any SaaS connection. Another piece of company software, the Global Management System, orchestrates the optimization.
In addition to the advanced WAN routing and cloud intelligence, the Unity fabric also features accelerated encryption; data reduction achieved through WAN compression and deduplication; path conditioning that reconstitutes dropped packets and re-sequences those that might take multiple paths; and traffic shaping that prioritizes classes of traffic, giving the least attention to personal or recreational use, for example.
"SaaS has taken business productivity to new heights, but it has also dramatically changed the dynamics of IT networking," said company exec Damon Ennis. "The weather on the Internet can be congested one minute and tolerable the next, making the performance of cloud services unpredictable. Even worse, your IT staff has no way to monitor traffic to the cloud once it leaves the WAN. Silver Peak's Unity fabric gives them capabilities they've never had before. It turns the Internet into your own private, high-performance network and brings SaaS under the control of IT."
Unity support leading IaaS providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware vCloud and Microsoft Azure. That includes more than 30 individual SaaS applications such as Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, Salesforce.com and Adobe Creative Cloud. Eventually, the company said, "every" SaaS app will be supported.
One vCloud user, Nevro Corp., professed enthusiasm for the new solution. "The rate at which our employees use cloud services has spread like wildfire," said Nevro exec Jeff Wilson. "With users in different parts of the world, I was not only finding it difficult to maintain consistent performance for my users, but I've been constantly surprised by new cloud applications popping up on users' screens. Silver Peak has already been an instrumental partner in helping us accelerate data mobility for our VMware vCloud environment, and I'm excited to see Silver Peak Unity extend that expertise to give me the ability to control the performance and management of our core cloud-based services. Now we can punch a hole through to the systems that drive our business."
Silver Peak said Unity will help address those new cloud apps popping up on users' screens, exemplifying the problem of "shadow IT" in which staffers might use their own devices to access cloud services or unofficial cloud service providers without organizational knowledge or control. The company quoted a McAfee-sponsored study in which 81 percent of line-of-business workers and 83 percent of IT staff admitted to using non-approved SaaS apps.
Subscriptions to the Cloud Intelligence Service are $5,000 per enterprise, per year with unlimited SaaS application support, the company said, while Silver Peak software instances start at $551 per year. "To optimize their networks for SaaS, new customers must purchase a minimum of two Silver Peak software instances and a subscription to Unity Cloud Intelligence," the company said. "Existing Silver Peak customers simply need to upgrade their Silver Peak software to release 7 and subscribe to Unity Cloud Intelligence. Customers can expand their networks by adding Silver Peak instances in cloud hubs or IaaS providers."
Posted by David Ramel on 08/13/2014 at 5:24 PM