With Akamai's uncharacteristic collaboration with Riverbed to embed Steelhead WAN optimization software into its CDN overlay network, the tide has officially turned--WAN optimization as a service is going main stream. It is unprecedented that Akamai, known for a "not invented here" culture, chose an established vendor to deliver its first bona fide WAN optimization service, Steelhead® Cloud Accelerator. Meanwhile, upstart Aryaka is following in Akamai's original CDN footsteps and building a WAN optimization service on its own proprietary appliances. Like Akamai, Virtela has a WAN optimization as a service offering built on third party products. In our view Aryaka is one to watch.
Given that Akamai lacks an intellectual property advantage in the WAN optimization space, its modus operandi of hog tying competitors by suing for patent infringement is not an option in Aryaka's case. Many on the Aryaka team have worked at Akamai and know it from the inside. A number of them came to work at Akamai through the acquisition of startups like Speedera and Netli. One of those employees, Sonal Puri, Aryaka's vice president of marketing and sales tells us that Aryaka's vision is to leapfrog competition by building a tailor-made platform for WAN optimization as a service. Puri describes Aryaka's technology as dual-ended WAN optimization in which the "child" has gone off to college and the whole solution lives in the cloud. "Our network brings the intelligence that usually sits in the customer's premises into the cloud. We deliver WAN optimization as a service from our PoPs using a software stack that is built to be multitenant, that can scale quickly on the same server, and is not limited to a few cloud applications. We can accelerate any cloud applications for any enterprise located anywhere over one, optimized network."
So for WAN optimization as a service, we have a level playing field. Let the games begin!