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Silver Peak has introduced an appliance that lets corporate employees use broadband, instead of more expensive MPLS connections, to access applications over a wide-area network.
The appliance, Unity EdgeConnect, is available either as a virtual or physical device. EdgeConnect provides the option of using Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) links only when necessary.
Companies are increasingly turning to hybrid wide-area networks (WANs) that combine MPLS and the Internet to reduce costs, according to Gartner. An Internet link also provides better support for cloud-based services like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.
EdgeConnect brings broadband into a WAN by placing a virtual network overlay on the physical WAN. In essence, the appliance virtualizes the Internet link coming from a cable operator, telephone company or wireless carrier.
Such overlays are often referred to as software-defined WANs (SD-WANs). They are also used to load-balance traffic across network links and to provide WAN path control. The quickly evolving SD-WAN market has attracted many startups, including CloudGenix, Viptela, VeloCloud and Glue Networks.
What EdgeConnect does
Silver Peak's EdgeConnect directs traffic over an MPLS or Internet link based on the application. Voice over IP (VoIP) communications, for example, are directed to an MPLS link, which is the more reliable connection, while traffic heading to a cloud service provider is sent over less costly broadband.
Companies define the policies that tell EdgeConnect where to direct traffic. The policies also define a secondary connection to be activated in the event of an outage.
EdgeConnect encrypts traffic using the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The product also prevents unauthorized traffic from entering the WAN, which reduces the number of firewalls needed to secure the network, according to Silver Peak.
In March, Silver Peak introduced the Unity brand with the release of software that improves the performance of Internet links to cloud applications. The product lets IT departments monitor cloud, Internet and WAN traffic and make routing decisions for the best performance across the links.
EdgeConnect uses the same orchestration technology as Unity, so the products are managed through the same administration screen.
Unity Boost for application performance
Along with EdgeConnect, Silver Peak introduced software called Unity Boost that's engineered to improve the performance of specific applications used in branch offices. The offices can be on a broadband connection or part of a hybrid WAN.
Unity Boost improves application performance through data deduplication. It also minimizes latency through several protocol acceleration techniques. Boost is sold as a separate product.
EdgeConnect starts at $199 per site, per month. Boost costs $5 per-megabit-per-second, per month.
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