Silver Peak accelerates WAN appliances

By Kevin Komiega

—Silver Peak Systems has introduced the NX-9000 Acceleration Appliance, the newest and biggest member in its family of NX systems, with 10Gbps interfaces, wire-speed encryption, de-duplication, and a new set of acceleration techniques that minimize latency caused by "chatty" protocols such as TCP.

The NX-9000 includes two 10Gbps interfaces and four 1Gbps interfaces with EtherChannel bonding for physical connectivity between Silver Peak's appliances and network elements, which is required for deployment in data-center environments. The interfaces yield support for up to 4Gbps of bidirectional LAN traffic and 1Gbps of bidirectional WAN traffic, with an 8TB local data store available for de-duplication over a WAN.

"It's becoming increasingly common for enterprises to deploy Gigabit WAN connections using MPLS, IP VPNs, and similar 'shared' technologies," says Jeff Aaron, Silver Peak's director of marketing. "With the NX appliances, enterprises get the most out of their WAN connections—from small branch offices to large data centers."

The NX-9000 supports the same features as the rest of the company's appliances, including packet loss prevention and packet reordering. Aaron says speed is paramount for Silver Peak's customers, but users are beginning to factor network integrity into the evaluation process.

"Enterprises are becoming more and more concerned about network integrity," says Aaron. "How well the appliance handles packet loss is a new concern. Users are running this stuff over the Internet, which means packets are inevitably going to get dropped or delivered out of order, which affects real-time applications like replication, voice, and video—anything that's latency sensitive."

Silver Peak addresses lost and out-of-order packets in real time using adaptive Forward Error Correction (FEC) and Packet Order Correction (POC) techniques. In addition, queuing/scheduling and application-based quality of service (QoS) policies help enterprises avoid congestion and prioritize critical applications.

The NX-9000 can also connect to more remote offices than previous models with support for 256,000 simultaneous TCP flows, enabling hundreds of offices to connect to a single NX data-center appliance and more traffic to flow between devices.

The NX-9000 was designed with large enterprise data centers in mind, enabling applications such as SAN-based replication on 1Gbps and faster WAN links, large-scale server and branch office consolidation projects, and centralized network backup and recovery for thousands of branch and remote users.

The appliances feature RAID with redundant power supplies and can be deployed with fail-over and load balancing between devices.

NX series appliances are managed using Silver Peak's Web-based Appliance Manager, which provides remote device management, network monitoring, and application performance analysis. The software provides device management, alarms, monitoring, and graphing tools to evaluate network and application performance data. Larger deployments are managed using the company's Global Management System (GMS).

The NX-9000 will be available in August with a price tag of approximately $259,995.

This article was originally published on May 27, 2008