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Silver Peak WAN acceleration software, VXOA, expands hypervisor support

Silver Peak moves ahead with its strategy to make its WAN optimization software accessible to storage administrators.

Silver Peak Systems Inc. this week rolled out the latest version of its Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture 6.0 WAN optimization software with expanded support for virtualization hypervisors, Citrix XenCenter and added integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the public cloud.

The Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) 6.0 WAN acceleration software, which operates on Silver Peak’s NX physical and VRX virtual appliances, can be downloaded on Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and KVM hypervisors to accelerate WAN performance. It also supports a Citrix XenCenter Manager plug-in so storage administrators can install a Silver Peak virtual appliance instance from the configuration tool.

The upgrades are a continuation of Silver Peak’s strategy to make WAN acceleration technology accessible to storage managers. That began in September when Silver Peak enabled replication on its virtual devices that storage admins could manage without having to configure network switches and routers.

"WAN optimization is usually a network technology," Silver Peak CEO Rick Tinsley said. "We've developed software so storage administrators can automatically download, install and configure devices to work with Silver Peak without involving the network department, and without needing to make changes to routers and switches."

As part of the 6.0 release, VXOA also supports jumbo frames of up to 9,000 bytes, going beyond the standard 1,500-byte limit for WANs. Jumbo frame support provides higher performance throughput. VXOA can handle 9,000-byte jumbo frames with storage arrays by breaking the frames into 1,500 bytes while in transit, and then reassembling them at the destination.

In the prior release, Silver Peak’s higher-end appliances supported only VMware hypervisors and vCenter. Tinsley said that was because VMware had a big performance advantage, but other hypervisors are catching up.

"We were surprised how fast the other hypervisors have improved," he said. "Microsoft and Citrix have improved their products. They all work pretty darn well. It's clear Microsoft is making a lot of progress and they are giving VMware a run for their money."

Silver Peak also claimed the replication performance is improved with version 6.0. VXOA supports NetApp SnapMirror, Dell Compellent and Dell EqualLogic replication, and Tinsley said the vendor will add to the WAN acceleration software support for replication tools from EMC and Hitachi Data Systems over the next few months.

Dave Bartoletti, senior analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., said Silver Peak is trying to expand its user base beyond network administrators by offering support for Citrix XenCenter Manager and vCenter, so Silver Peak's appliances can be configured with one click without involving network administrators.

"Server and storage administrators don't always know the details of networking," Bartoletti said. "Silver Peak has packaged a virtual appliance that a storage administrator can download on any server that talks to the storage environment. The integration of storage technology and a one-click virtual management tool is really key. Silver Peak is really trying to grease the wheels to get more people to try WAN optimization."

VXOA 6.0 is available now.

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