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New Silver Peak Unity software boosts cloud optimization, intelligence

Silver Peak's new Unity software with cloud intelligence gives businesses more control and better performance of cloud-based applications by mapping optimal routes over the Internet for cloud traffic.

Silver Peak has introduced Unity, cloud optimization software with the intelligence to map optimal routes over the Internet for cloud application traffic. Unity will give businesses more control over connectivity and performance of cloud-based applications.

Silver peak Unity combines cloud, Internet and WAN traffic visibility so IT can monitor its entire environment and make better routing decisions for cloud traffic. The product addresses the increased use of hybrid WANs, with more Internet connections and fewer MPLS links.

"The two biggest challenges that customers are facing on their WANs are better support for cloud-based services -- including public [software as a service] SaaS and [infrastructure as a service] IaaS -- and high costs," said Andrew Lerner, research director of network systems at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner. "As a result, we are seeing many organizations looking to hybrid WAN -- Internet, combined with MPLS."

Silver Peak cloud optimization brings enterprises closer to the cloud

Enterprise users often use cloud services without involving IT at all, and cloud performance can suffer if IT has no insight into cloud traffic or the routes that traffic takes over the Internet, said Damon Ennis, senior vice president of product management for Silver Peak.

Silver Peak's Unity, available as a virtual or physical appliance or as a service, can manage, control and optimize not only the existing WAN, but more importantly, orchestrate traffic across the last mile to the data centers of popular cloud services, like Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox and Amazon. "Unity gives control back to the network administrator," Ennis said.

Silver Peak's Global Management System, an orchestration layer, helps deploy the Unity's Cloud Intelligence feature, which tracks the health and location of cloud services. "This offering understands, for example, where all the Office 365 data centers are located globally, and which Unity instance is best suited to optimize cloud traffic coming from that data center," he said. Unity can also send the traffic to a different cloud service data center if the provider is experiencing a data center outage at the nearest location.

Silver Peak previously offered new routing capabilities for cloud services, and vendors such as Riverbed Technology and ThousandEyes have also developed new visibility into cloud services. Silver Peak's Unity combines routing and visibility into the health of cloud services and feeds that information into Silver Peak appliances, which can route traffic around bottlenecks on the Internet, Gartner's Lerner said.

Nevro Corporation, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based medical device manufacturing company with remote employees based in Europe, plans to deploy Unity as a software upgrade on its existing Silver Peak virtual appliances, said Jeff Wilson, the company's director of IT. The company uses several cloud services, including Salesforce, file sharing service Box and enterprise identity management service Okta. Many employees also use consumer applications, such as cloud-based scheduling and calendaring services, on their own, Wilson said. Unify will also be able to help optimize cloud services employed by employees, too.

Nevro wasn't doing anything to optimize cloud traffic prior to learning about Silver Peak's Unify product.  "We had absolutely no way of knowing what would happen once [the traffic] left our front yard. We just assumed it was going to work," he said.

While Nevro hasn't run into any major performance issues from its cloud services, cloud optimization is just as important as WAN optimization, he said. "It's an extension of the optimization we are already doing. I want our employees to have the best experience possible when it comes to cloud services, and performance is a conversation I don't want to ever come up," Wilson said.

Cloud intelligence and your evolving WAN optimization strategy

Many enterprises are still focused on traditional WAN optimization tools and methods because cloud traffic is still a relatively new area. Some organizations have settled for "good enough" performance from their cloud-based applications and services, under the assumption that once traffic leaves your environment, control is no longer an option.

Other enterprises have begun deploying hybrid WANs to help optimize performance of applications they don't own, and are embracing the Internet for transport between the user and the data center, Lerner said. "The [cloud intelligence feature] should better enable customers to embrace hybrid WAN combining MPLS and Internet, which is more cost-effective than traditional MPLS alone," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writerand follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter. 

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