Silver Peak Systems Inc. introduced the ability to deploy a Silver Peak virtual WAN optimization instance within the Amazon cloud for public cloud data and application acceleration late last year. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is now taking its public cloud capabilities a step further, announcing cloud acceleration by the hour for Amazon Web Services.
Enterprises want their services on demand without paying for leftover capacity or idle services and tools. Silver Peak's new pay-as-you-go, utility licensing option complements perpetual subscription licensing options for accelerating data to and from Amazon Web Services (AWS), said Dave Bartoletti, senior analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based at Forrester Research Inc.
"This pricing model option aligns with how people are learning to buy different bits of technology from [cloud providers], like Amazon," Bartoletti said. "If [enterprises] can buy infrastructure by the hour, they want to be able to buy software -- like WAN optimization -- the same way."
Silver Peak VX software: Cloud optimization on demand
The Silver Peak VX software for cloud-based application optimization and acceleration offers better data transfer performance while reducing the amount of data transmitted to and from AWS, said Vivian Xu, director of cloud and virtualization product management for Silver Peak. Silver Peak customers with physical or virtual WAN optimization appliances in their data center will now be able to purchase Silver Peak VX software directly from the AWS marketplace and begin using WAN optimization by the hour between their AWS cloud environment and data centers.
Silver Peak VX software also supports major hypervisors, including Citrix, KVM, Microsoft and VMware, for customers extending WAN optimization and data acceleration from AWS to any virtualized data center or remote office, Xu said.
The new hourly licensing model expands the flexibility users have with software-based tools in their cloud environments, allowing AWS customers to pay only for the WAN optimization they are using. The hourly licensing option will be especially useful for enterprises with big data or high-performance computing requirements.
"Businesses need WAN optimization, but they don't want to pay for unused resources," Xu said. "Some [businesses] are only transferring large amounts of data once or twice per day, or several times a week -- this is where customers can really take advantage of our hourly licensing."
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Silver Peak is the first vendor to offer WAN optimization for AWS by the hour, but more vendors will likely offer the same licensing model as users demand more flexible utilization options, Forrester's Bartoletti said.
Hourly pricing for cloud services may appear to be a cheaper option, but Amazon charges for data moving out of its cloud, he said. Costs can add up quickly for enterprises transfering large amounts of data from their cloud environment to their data center.
"Data transfer costs can be the hidden 'gotcha' with cloud computing," Bartoletti said. "If users have an option for reducing the amount of data transferred back and forth when they need it, it can help reduce costs because it's hard to know in advance how much optimization is going to be needed until users understand how their workloads are going to perform."
Who needs WAN optimization by the hour?
Application performance vendors have just recently begun offering optimization and acceleration tools for AWS -- including load balancing, application delivery controllers and WAN optimization -- but not every business will need performance tools for their cloud environments.
Optimization and acceleration tools sold in hourly increments can help businesses test the capabilities before making a commitment to one vendor, while also reducing the burden on network administrators to buy WAN optmization devices or set up the software themsleves, said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) Inc.
This pricing model will appeal especially to businesses that are exploring whether software will help save time and the costs associated with transferring data, Laliberte said. "It's especially effective for [businesses] to do initial tests with WAN optimization by the hour than to sign up for a monthly subscription," he said.