WAN Optimization and Catalysts for Cloud Deployment

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rahul Neel Mani


With the advent of cloud, organizations are increasingly looking at how they optimize their WAN infrastructure. Varun Aggarwal talked to Josh Tseng - Technical Director, Riverbed about the growing market of WAN optimization and the companies focus areas.

What are the trends that you see in WAN optimization?

WAN optimization is one of the fastest growing markets in IT and Riverbed is a leader in the market. Now it’s a major market projected by IDC/many other analyst and growing at a significant rate.

The total market today is estimated at more than a billion dollars and going to grow even more. The reason for this growth is additional product and technology. This is a technology adopted by many companies, 80 out of 100 top companies are our customers. But there is lot of innovation that can take place.

What kind of innovation can expect to see in the WAN optimization space?

The enterprise environment is a very diverse environment. Every application works in a different way and thus WAN optimization is incomplete without a tighter integration with these applications. What is key for WAN optimization is become more aware at layer 7 of the TCP/IP protocol.

The app level intelligence is the area where there is lot of scope in terms of innovation. However, you need to invest into developers, engineers, test facilities etc to do this and Riverbed is in the right position to do that. Tighter application integration would be our key focus area.

What kind of work are you doing in the cloud computing space?

We have a number of products for the cloud. Currently we are working with Amazon for our Riverbed Cloud Steelhead. The product is purpose-built for public cloud computing environments. We released the product for Amazon and going forward we will target other cloud providers.

One of the major challenges with cloud computing is sending and receiving large volumes of data, putting tremendous pressures on the bandwidth requirements. For this, we’ve come out with Riverbed Whitewater, which is a deduplication solution for cloud storage. It helps in providing optimization and deduplication to minimize data transfer bandwidth and storage capacity needed.

This solution is the most granular solution available in the industry with data chunks as small as 100 bytes. Because we can recognize byte level repetitive patterns, our solutions require you to transfer the least amount of data to the cloud, saving both bandwidths as well as cloud storage costs.

How much do you think has cloud computing affected WAN optimization market?

While cloud computing has fueled the growth of WAN optimization, the reverse holds true as well. For eg. our products are considered by many of our customers as a pre requisite for moving to the cloud. We have customers telling Microsoft, Amazon and Google that they will not move to the cloud unless these companies have Riverbed in their data centre.

And this includes several fortune 500 companies. Our leading customers are already adopting cloud computing and as more and more enterprises move into cloud, they will realize that moving without WAN optimisation is difficult.

Amazon’s N. Virginia data center suffered a cyber attack recently, which actually led to many customers losing their data. What kind of impact would this event have on cloud computing?

Amazon has to learn a lot internally. I think clouds are still evolving and trying to build the right processes. However, what happened to Amazon could have happened to any private data center. That was unfortunate event.

Amazon needs to spend time with IT professionals and put in place the right processes, hence, minimizing the risks. They also have to put in place new data centers and improve redundancy for risk management.

Risks have to be covered. The attack is a lesson to be learnt. Some enterprises will never go for external data center because of sensitive data. For eg. banks are least likely to move into (public) cloud.

What measures can enterprises take to prevent data loss over cloud?

Primary data will be the responsibility of the cloud provider. But secondary data or the backup and archival data is concerned, enterprises need to deploy solutions like Riverbed Whitewater for cloud storage.

With least amount of data redundancy, organizations would have higher budgets to have mirror images of their data with different cloud providers. Therefore, even in case all the data centers of one cloud provider go down, you’ll still have your data intact with another cloud provider.

Are SMBs and enterprises both looking into cloud?

Adoption is growing leaps and bounds in US. US is leading in tech innovation and many fortune 500 companies moving into cloud and testing Riverbed with it. Many of them are also doing pilots.

Showing the increase growth of clouds, analysts say that Amazon’s revenues from cloud would exceed its retail revenues in just a couple of years.

What are Riverbed’s focus areas?

We would be looking at expanding our layer 7 capabilities, ie. tighter integration with enterprise applications. We are also positioning ourselves as catalysts for those who want to move into cloud.

WAN optimization is going to be highly popular. WAN optimization solutions enable organizations to run business faster and more efficiently, saving time and cutting the cost of IT infrastructure. There is a continued need for WAN optimization in India and Riverbed is best suited to meet the needs of the enterprises.

We are also making sure that we offer most advanced capabilities to our customers. For this, we release the largest number of software updates compared to our competition at any given time.

Cross-posted from CTO Forum

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