Corporate WANs get application speed boost

Juniper and Silver Peak both beefed up their WAN appliances this week

Two firms focusing on accelerating enterprise applications have launched corporate data centre offerings.

Mainstream networking vendor Juniper Networks and niche player Silver Peak both released appliances this week aimed at reducing the load on organisations' wide area networks (WANs).

The market for such offerings has rocketed in the past three years as companies centralise their applications and data centres, vastly increasing the amount of traffic that passes over their WANs.

Silver Peak has added a new model at the top end of its portfolio with the launch of the NX8500 appliance.

The strength of the NX8500 is in its size — it can handle 100,000 TCP flows across a network link of up to 500Mbps. It is compatible with both TCP and UDP-based protocols, and it offers some traffic-reduction techniques for voice over IP.

Silver Peak also offers the ability to encrypt traffic on each individual device, and in transport. But it will not come cheaply: the NX8500 costs $129,995 (£69,000).

Juniper's rival data centre offering, the WXC590, can handle a smaller amount of traffic, at 45Mbps per box, but, along with upgraded management and operating systems, it contains a number of new features.

Juniper can now accelerate traffic from Samba servers — the open source version of Microsoft's CIFS protocol — which provides file and print services.

Multiple WXC590s can be load-balanced and each comes with back-up power supplies and hard drives to help to guarantee continuity. The appliances are priced at $25,000 (£13,250) for the smallest capacity offering.

Earlier this month, analyst company Gartner released detailed analysis of the WAN optimisation market. In the analysis it said that Juniper was one of three market leaders, alongside Riverbed Technology and Expand Networks. Silver Peak is a 'niche player', Gartner said.

DIY chain B&Q is currently planning to deploy Silver Peak's products in up to 90 of its stores. Juniper's WAN optimisation kit is in place at John Lewis, Surrey County Council and London Underground.