WAN accelerator breaks the Gig barrier

Silver Peak has launched what it claimed is the biggest WAN accelerator ever - a box able to optimise, de-duplicate, compress and encrypt 1Gbit/s of WAN traffic.

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He said the NX-9000 uses the same optimisation technology as Silver Peak's earlier systems, but achieves greater throughput by running on far more powerful hardware. Each appliance has dual Xeon quad-core processors, and like the 500Mbit/s NX-8000, which formerly topped the range, it has 8TB of local RAID storage for data de-duplication.

However, a rival supplier questioned Silver Peak's reliance on Intel silicon, and warned that the device could simply shift the bottleneck to the LAN side.

"I am extremely cynical on their ability to handle that traffic without using network processors," said Simon Jackson, Packeteer's director of systems engineering for Europe, adding that Packeteer (which was recently bought by Blue Coat), uses network processors in its 6Gbits/s PacketShaper Turbo flow-shaper.

Several others also use these specialist multi-core chips to offload high-throughput tasks, including Cisco.

Jackson continued: "If it's saturating a Gigabit on the WAN, it's significant - but that could need 20 Gbit/s of real feed."

Jeff Aaron countered that although the NX-9000's LAN-side capacity is just 4Gbit/s, "Scalability is more than just bandwidth - it's also the number of offices and users you can support."

It can optimise up to 256,000 simultaneous flows, meaning it can support many more sessions than its rivals, he said. At perhaps 10 sessions per user, a single NX-9000 in the datacentre connected to a Gig pipe could support thousands of users working in hundreds of remote offices, he suggested.

The new device is not cheap, however - it lists for $259,995 (approx £130,000), which is double the price of the NX-8000.

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