Silver Peak has released Unity, a groundbreaking intelligent wide area network (WAN) fabric that unifies the enterprise network with the public cloud. Unlike traditional WAN optimisation solutions, Unity correlates information about cloud services and Internet “weather” to intelligently route traffic over a secure, optimal path. By keeping SaaS and IaaS traffic on the Unity fabric, IT gains an ability it’s never had: the ability to monitor and control connectivity to the cloud while ensuring consistent SaaS performance.
“Most enterprises use dozens of SaaS services, whether IT knows about them or not,” said David Hughes, CEO of Silver Peak. “That usage will only increase as enterprises shift computing workloads to the cloud. The problem is, IT staff have no insight into that traffic once it leaves the WAN. They can’t troubleshoot problems or optimise applications the way they would on their own network. CIOs don’t want to be responsible for performance they can’t control.”
“Silver Peak Unity represents an entirely new approach to wide area networking, which steps beyond WAN optimisation,” Hughes continued. “We're giving the enterprise a complete map of the cloud-driven network and applying new routing and intelligence to help enterprise IT see, control and optimise connectivity to every SaaS application.”
Silver Peak software installed in data centres, branch offices and cloud interconnection hubs generates the Unity fabric, a network overlay that controls and accelerates connectivity to any combination of enterprise services, IaaS resources and SaaS applications. Each Silver Peak instance on the Unity fabric communicates with Silver Peak’s new Cloud Intelligence service, which aggregates constantly changing information about cloud providers and Internet weather. Unity uses this information, along with calculations from each software instance, to dynamically route traffic to the cloud over the optimal path. Orchestration is handled by Silver Peak’s Global Management System (GMS), which provides IT managers with complete visibility and control over the deployment and use of cloud services.
“The rate at which our employees use cloud services has spread like wildfire,” said Jeff Wilson, IT director for Nevro Corporation. “With users in different parts of the world, I was not only finding it difficult to maintain consistent performance for my users, but I’ve been constantly surprised by new cloud applications popping up on users’ screens. Silver Peak has already been an instrumental partner in helping us accelerate data mobility for our VMware vCloud environment, and I’m excited to see Silver Peak Unity extend that expertise to give me the ability to control the performance and management of our core cloud-based services. Now we can punch a hole through to the systems that drive our business.”
Enabling the New Enterprise Network
Silver Peak Unity combines unique technology for monitoring, controlling and optimising the new network:
- Advanced WAN Routing: Advanced Exterior Routing identifies the closest egress to cloud data centers and directs traffic to a cloud service over an optimal path. Advanced Interior Routing dynamically selects the fastest, least-congested, or most available path for traffic by monitoring packet loss, latency, and bandwidth in real-time.
- Cloud Intelligence: This new subscription service delivers information about cloud services to Silver Peak software instances, creating an Internet weather map for intelligent routing decisions.
- Accelerated Encryption: The Unity fabric is built on IPsec VPN security without any performance degradation, using AES-256 encryption with SHA-1 authentication and a simplified deployment model.
- Data Reduction: WAN compression and deduplication inspects all traffic in real-time, eliminating repetitive transmission of duplicate data.
- Path Conditioning: Adaptive Forward Error Correction reconstitutes dropped packets in real-time, while Packet Order Correction re-sequences packets that may traverse multiple paths across the network.
- Traffic Shaping: Applications are classified to prioritise critical traffic classes while constraining recreational or personal-use traffic classes.
Global Visibility: Web-based GMS provides centralised orchestration of WAN deployments, advanced application classification, and detailed performance metrics.
Shining a Light on Shadow IT
The public cloud has become a powerful tool for increasing enterprise growth and efficiency. According to IDC, worldwide spending on public IT cloud services is expected to hit $107 billion in 2017. However, as adoption of the public cloud grows, so too does the use of IT systems and solutions without organizational approval. According to a study conducted for McAfee by Stratecast, a unit of Frost & Sullivan, 81 percent of line-of-business workers and 83 percent of IT staff admit to using non-approved SaaS apps. This practice, often referred to as “Shadow IT,” opens a major gap in visibility, security and performance across the network and a headache for CIOs.
Gartner reports that “traditional enterprise WAN architectures are not well-suited for the adoption of cloud-based IaaS and SaaS solutions, due to increased latency and the cost of backhauling traffic to centralised gateways.” Gartner also projects that “through 2015, at least 50% of cloud deployments will suffer from network performance issues.”
Gartner analysts Andrew Lerner and Neil Rickard write: “Network architects should revise WAN architectures to improve performance for external cloud applications and resources. In most cases, hybrid WAN architectures will provide the best blend of performance and availability.”
According to a recent market analysis conducted by Doyle Research, the worldwide Intelligent WAN market is expected to reach $3.2 billion by 2018 and is growing at a rate of 20 percent year-over-year. “Public cloud adoption is placing significant stress on the WAN,” said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. “This has opened the door for new WAN solutions that can maximise your return on cloud investments, rein-in Shadow IT, and enable highly reliable, secure networks with low-latency traffic to end users independent of their location or device type.”
 Worldwide and Regional Public IT Cloud Services 2013–2017, IDC
 Communications Hubs Improve WAN Performance, Gartner, May 12, 2014
 Is MPLS Dead?, Gartner, June 17, 2013
This article was originally posted “Silver Peak Releases Unity” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.