Judging from recent headlines, the WAN Optimization market is in a state of upheaval. With Riverbed fending off activist investor Elliott Management and Riverbed and Silver Peak embroiled in a patent dispute, it seems like the WAN Optimization market is in a state of crisis.
It is, but not in the way you think. The real crisis for the WAN Optimization market (well, for the old guard, anyway) is the shift away from expensive, hardware-heavy solutions to services. The WAN Optimization providers that navigate this shift well will be leaders in the new cloud age. Those that have trouble managing the shift are in for some turbulent times.
Thus, when the one-year anniversary of our first patent award showed up on my calendar, it seemed like a good time to review what is unique about Aryaka’s technology. Aryaka is the driving force behind the shift away from appliances to services. The SaaS movement was well underway before we were founded back in 2008, but before Aryaka launched our WAN Optimization as-a-Service nothing so complicated (and expensive) had ever been transformed into a service.
Now, with a patent for the multi-tenant routing and service performance management technology core to delivering application acceleration as a service offering, we are the only company able to deliver a superior alternative to MPLS using patented technology for WAN Optimization in a true as-a-Service offering, a solution ideally suited for the age of the cloud.
In fact, transforming a complicated hardware solution into a simple-to-use service is the biggest change to hit the WAN Optimization market in the last 10 years, and it shows. Just look at what the hardware-heavy vendors are doing: they’re either distracted by infighting or busy trying to copy us.
Another milestone we’ve achieved is being placed in the Visionary Quadrant of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers for the second year in a row.
Finally, our growing list of customers who have dropped MPLS in favor of our cloud-based solution is a final confirmation that we have hit on the right approach for the times: an easy-to-use service that helps businesses of all sizes embrace the cloud.
The benefits of an as-a-Service approach here are numerous: like SaaS, Aryaka’s service can be deployed very quickly, with nothing for the enterprise user to buy, maintain, or manage. With zero CapEx and a low TCO, our solution delivers integrated end-to-end WAN and application visibility, and it enables optimized access to SaaS and cloud services in the same fashion and with the same single network. Our approach allows you to leverage the Internet ecosystem and Internet economics, taking advantage of network effects as you move to the cloud.
While Aryaka’s WAN Optimization as-a-Service shares some other features in common with typical SaaS implementations – a multi-tenant design, for example — some parts are quite different, given that this is a global network service. A key part of the patented solution for enterprise WAN Optimization and application acceleration is an idea borrowed from the CDN world – from where Ajit Gupta, our CEO, came – to leverage points of presence (POPs) close to users. So, let’s look more closely at what a cloud-based solution to WAN Optimization includes.
To best address the performance issue of Microsoft’s CIFS/SMB protocol, you really need the application acceleration that an application proxy delivers. To deal with limited last-mile bandwidth, you need bandwidth scaling technologies like compression and Advanced Redundancy Removal™ (ARR™). Our WAN Optimization as-a-Service solution delivers just this.
In fairness, however, there have been many purchased appliance/software solutions that perform these functions available on the market for many years now . But that’s the kicker: they are expensive appliance solutions that are even more expensive to maintain and manage. For speeding up all TCP applications running over long distance WANs, the enterprise-grade connectivity provided by the union of our dedicated MPLS-like core network with globally distributed POPs close to end user locations and our multi-segment architecture for doing TCP optimization is the key.
In practice, congestion-based packet loss and increased latency are the biggest killers of application performance on any wide area network. While usually not much of a problem on expensive, regionally limited, and over-engineered domestic MPLS networks, WAN congestion is the critical issue to be faced for international WAN connectivity, especially when using Internet connections.
With our multi-segment approach, in addition to centralizing the complexity and management of higher-level WAN Optimization technologies at POP locations, we address the congestion-based loss problems faced by public Internet connections in multiple, complementary ways.
With a dedicated, reliable low loss core network connecting our POPs, we avoid the “middle mile” congestion problems that Internet-based connectivity frequently faces. IPsec VPNs connections between locations across the Internet, by contrast, frequently have very long latencies and experience congestion due to the economics of the Internet, the nature of the BGP routing protocol, and “hot potato” routing. This causes ISPs to have traffic exit their networks as quickly as possibly if the final destination is not on their own network, even though that can mean that the resulting latency and loss are a lot greater than they need to be.
With our globally distributed POPs close to end user locations and IP connectivity from Tier 1 ISPs, we minimize the amount of first- and last-mile congestion – and packet loss – experienced.
Finally, the unique point: by performing TCP termination and other TCP optimization functions per segment from edge to core and between core locations, rather than solely between distant appliances as traditional WOC appliance solutions do, TCP connections between enterprise locations and Aryaka POPs are optimized to use available bandwidth and quickly retransmit packets when first- or last-mile packet loss does occur. That quick reaction when loss occurs is key to delivering consistent, predictable performance.
That’s what we deliver, and it’s what we received a patent for a year ago: technology for an optimized, superior alternative to MPLS for global WAN performance and application acceleration. Better yet, this patent puts us at the forefront in the shift away from data-center siloes to the more open, flexible, and dynamic age of the cloud.