Opinion

Silver Peak stuffs the network manager and the data

With all the media hysteria over the new iPhone 5, I can't help thinking Samsung missed a trick last Friday.

They should have planted someone at the very front of that queue in Oxford Street. What a coup it would have been if the first nutter to emerge from Apple's flagship shop told the world's media: “I decided not to buy one. It's not a patch on the Samsung Galaxy”.

Fighting businessmenSamsung’s American marketing team went one better with this little commercial, so if there’s one thing that we can be sure of: it’s that there's definitely money to be made out of the conflict between two such bitter rivals.

The same tensions exist between departments in companies, and I think resellers should be doing more to exploit these tensions. Take the ICT departments. Networking people are a different breed from IT, who in turn are a species away from the weird mutations who like to be in charge of storage.

If you're ever in a pub and there's a storage crowd in there, and you see a minibus full of networking types pulling into the car park, put down your drink and get out because it's bound to kick off; they really can't hack each other.

One vendor has created a cunning plan to exploit these tensions for commercial purposes. Silver Peak's brand of WAN optimisation has traditionally involved a box. Networking managers like boxes, because they sit in the comms rooms.

So if Johnny storage manager wanted to speed up the replication of one datacentre to another, he's have to go cap in hand to the networking manager to make the case. The networking manager, if he was a jobsworth (it does happen sometimes) would make his storage rival jump through all kinds of bureaucratic hoops in order to justify the purchase. “Space is at a premium in my datacentre,” he'd say. “Are we going to get value for money?”

So the poor storage manager would have to stay late after work, writing a report extolling the virtues of Silver Peak’s Velocity Solution. Despite the fact that the argument can be summarised in a sentence – the Velocity box can make a 10 GB transfer take seven minutes when it used to take 90 – the storage manager would have to pad his report out with all kinds of stuff, just to make the document look substantial, What would hurt even more is he'd know his rival wouldn't read all that stuff anyway. He was just being an arse.

Now Silver Peak has invented a way to bypass the networking manager. In all the years Silver Peak has been going, they've been secretly developing a fiendishly cunning invention under the innocent sounding guise of their Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA). They've created software that allows the storage bods to optimise bandwidth without using a networking box. So they've found a way to bypass (indeed undermine) the jobsworth in the comms room and take all the credit for the improvement in the network's performance.

“We provide WAN optimisation solutions in whatever format people want, be it a hardware for the comms room or a virtual software product,” says Silver Peak's CEO Rick Tinsley.

Analysing those words, what I think he was trying to say was: “Now we not only stuff data, we stuff jobsworths.”

So these storage-based WAN optimisation systems can now be bought through storage resellers. If you are a networking manager, and you see a NetApp reseller come through the door, you might want to steel yourself for a fight!


Image credit: Altrendo Images

This was first published in September 2012

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