Silver Peak Systems, which has been known primarily as a Wide-Area Network (WAN) optimization player over the past few years, is adding Software-Defined WAN technology to its portfolio with a new SD-WAN controller and networking overlay product.
Earlier this week, the company introduced Unity EdgeConnect, a software product that allows enterprise customers to secure and optimize broadband Internet as a substitute for more expensive leased lines, such as those using Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology.
Unity EdgeConnect creates a virtual network overlay, and it works with existing network infrastructure. Customers can use Unity EdgeConnect to secure and optimize broadband Internet as a WAN technology or employ a hybrid WAN approach that leverages both MPLS and broadband Internet.
Unity EdgeConnect can steer traffic to the best WAN connection at the time, whether it’s broadband or MPLS, using Dynamic Path Control (DPC). Data is secured using a 256-bit encrypted tunnel. The product improves broadband connectivity using path conditioning and by evaluating the best WAN paths for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.
The network overlay approach is designed to make Unity EdgeConnect very easy to install with existing networks. The customer can choose from a number of x86-based hardware devices supplied by Silver Peak or install with software only. An orchestrator provisions the device, there is an overlay built across all customer sites, and you are up and running in a matter of minutes, according to company officials.
The opportunity for moving WAN services into the cloud is worth at least $7.5 billion. Customers are moving to cloud WAN or SD-WAN to reduce the capital expenses, operating expenses, and management headaches associated with managing proprietary hardware and MPLS connections.
Silver Peak is moving into SD-WAN as a number of other startups, including Pertino, Velocloud, and Viptela, pursue a similar opportunity to build secure and optimized WANs that leverage Internet broadband to compete with MPLS. More than $360 million has been invested in SD-WAN startups.
Silver Peak founder and CEO David Hughes says the number of startups moving into the market is good for building awareness about the technology.
“The competition is Cisco,” says Hughes. “The activity in the industry around startups is great because it’s helping get momentum. Think about clean-slate solutions rather than things that evolve from the router that has been around for decades.”
Silver Peak, which is now 10 years old, has between 150 and 200 employees and is profitable, according to Hughes. The company has not raised funding since 2008 and has been “self-funded” since then, he says. The total funding raised was $60 million.