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Silver Peak Systems offers free switch to virtual WAN optimization

Silver Peak Systems tells customers they can buy NX hardware WAN optimization devices today and switch to VX virtual appliances later at no extra charge.

Silver Peak Systems Inc. today launched a program that allows its WAN optimization hardware customers to move to a VX virtual appliance for free at any time during their maintenance contract.

Silver Peak's Software for Life program is aimed at customers who expect their environments to become much more virtualized in the coming years. Previously, customers would buy Silver Peak Systems' NX hardware appliances and then have to purchase the VX virtual appliances if they wanted to switch. With the new program, users don't have to pay to move from hardware to software WAN optimization.

Any Silver Peak NX series hardware customer with a valid maintenance contract can convert to an equivalent VX series virtual appliance by logging into Silver Peak Systems' support portal and clicking the Convert to Virtual button. The customer then takes on the maintenance and support license costs for the virtual appliance.

Silver Peak is focused on transitioning from selling hardware WAN acceleration to its VX virtual appliance software. It is also making a play to make its technology more accessible to storage managers to improve WAN replication.

"Software is rapidly changing the WAN optimization market," said Silver Peak founder David Hughes, who replaced Rick Tinsley as CEO last month. "Customers who use virtualization are spread across a continuum. Some environments are 100% virtual, some put some applications on virtual appliances, and some are still 100% hardware. The whole idea is to encourage people to transfer to software more quickly. We want to help customers along that path."

Hughes said he expects almost all organizations to be virtualized within a few years. Server and storage administrators are further along in deploying virtualization, he said, but other parts of an IT organization have been slower to virtualize.

"It's not a technology problem," Hughes said. "It's an organization problem, and sometimes a political problem."

Hughes said he expects virtual WAN optimization to change the role of Silver Peak Systems and its competitors.

"The next 12 to 24 months can be very different [from] the last eight years," Hughes said. "People look at Silver Peak as a WAN optimization company, but if you actually look at what we've achieved in the last two years, we've been building a competence in virtualization and helping companies virtualize network functions. I think you'll see [the] fruits of that [labor] over the next 12 to 24 months, not only in the way our sales transition from hardware to software, but also in terms of the breadth of solutions that we offer."

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