Upload 100X faster to Amazon's cloud with optimization service? Not quite, one analyst says

Silver Peak says its optimization software speeds network traffic, actual results vary though

WAN optimization vendor Silver Peak last week announced a service that it proclaims speeds data transfers into Amazon's cloud by 100 times compared to not using Silver Peak's deduplication system.

That sounds pretty good, but while the system could potentially create triple-digit efficiency gains for data transfers, at least one analyst says that level of performance efficiency is not likely in all uploads using Silver Peak's services. "That may be a little bit of a marketing stretch," says Jim Frey, who tracks the WAN optimization market for Enterprise Management Associates. "Your actual mileage will vary."

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In a video demonstration on the Silver Peak website, a test shows a 102MB file uploading in less than 1 second when using Silver Peak's offering, compared to it taking 53 seconds without the software -- a 98% drop in the amount of time it takes to upload the file. But a Silver Peak executive acknowledges results for all uploads and downloads depend on a variety of "x" factors. Network and traffic conditions, the amount of packet loss during a transfer, latency and bandwidth can all affect how much Silver Peak's service can speed up network traffic.

Frey says it's typical for WAN optimization services to speed uploads and downloads by double-digit margins, but it really depends on the use cases. Getting to a 100X increase is achievable, but not likely in a most of use cases.

Silver Peak's offering works via deduplication software on either side of the connection between a customer's data center and AWS's cloud. A series of monitors track inbound and outbound traffic at each edge of the network and each monitor stores local copies of information, eliminating the need for duplicate traffic to be sent over the network.

The system also checks for incorrect or missing packets that may travel over the network. Forward Error Correction (FEC) techniques allow for mangled packets to be reconstituted to their correct form. The service is available with a 30-day free trial; annual licenses start at $1,600.

Silver Peak has traditionally marketed its data center WAN optimization technology through resellers, but it's now offering its services for transfers of information into Amazon's cloud. It's playing in a crowded field of vendors like Riverbed and Citrix NetScaler, which offer similar services.

Network World senior writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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