InformationWeek Report Comes Up Short

InformationWeek Analytics last month unveiled the results of its “WAN Optimization Appliance Vendor Evaluation Survey.” We are encouraged to see InformationWeek actively covering WAN optimization, but there are a couple of things that should be pointed out about this study.

First, this report does corroborate our view that IT pros are very interested in innovation in this space. Take virtual WANop, for example. The report cites that three of the top five evaluation criteria for selecting a WANop solution are flexibility, operation cost, and acquisition cost. This is where virtual WAN optimization clearly shines and is beginning to gain significant traction.  Advancements in hypervisor technology and off-the-shelf x86 hardware have allowed for scalable and flexible deployment, delivery, and pricing of WAN optimization anywhere in the network—from branch, to data center, to the cloud.  Virtual WANop is here to stay.

While the survey was compiled from 486 respondents whom have either been involved in the acquisition or administration of WAN optimization appliances, only a little more than one-half of the respondents are actually “using” WAN optimization today.  This is an important point as there is still room for education in this market, and there are still lots of folks relying on the costly “buy-more-bandwidth” model.

It should also be pointed out that two of the companies mentioned in the study no longer offer WAN optimization solutions.  That means 19% of the respondents in the study using those products, or roughly 92 of the 486 (and quite possibly 92 of the 252 who are actually using WANop), will soon be looking for new solutions.

Where will these 92 companies turn? Naturally, some will look to the bigger players in the market, but many will turn to the emerging growth companies with breakthrough technology. We expect this will be the case because we are already seeing it today with new customers replacing their legacy WANop products with Silver Peak, which includes those mentioned in this study.

That leads us to a final point. While normally we would welcome the results of such a study (what’s good for the market is usually good for us), we found ourselves a bit surprised by the analysis and accompanying article on InformationWeek.com. According to the full report, a handful of companies did not receive enough responses to warrant inclusion in the article, so the accompanying story on InformationWeek.com essentially ignores 21% of the respondents—more than one-out-of-five.  We feel that some of those companies omitted from the analysis—yes, ourselves included—represent the most technologically innovative and up-and-coming vendors in this space.  Certainly an opportunity missed in the analysis of the overall WANop market.

But don’t take our word for it, download and try it for free today.

For the IT and networking professionals who use Silver Peak today and who took the time to participate in the study, we thank you for representing Silver Peak.  We invite you to tell us how you responded, and how you feel about the results.  We will not ignore what you have to say.

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  • Art Wittmann

    It’s InformationWeek policy that if a vendor doesn’t get enough responses to this sort of poll, we say nothing about that company – except that it was included in the  and did not get sufficient responses to be included.  In each report we also say that readers should draw no conclusions, good or bad, about companies who do not receive enough responses.

    We do this for number of reasons.  First, the survey and associated report is intended to reflect the voice of the poll respondents, not the voice of the writer. These polls are unique in the industry because they require that participants have actually touched the technology.  That stands in sharp contrast to the vast majority of punditry speaking on most subjects in our industry. 

    InformationWeek and the other publications in its network (like Network Computing) do offer insights on smaller companies all the time. However, in this report, the rules are set up such that responses are statistically significant enough to project to the market at large.  You might ask yourself what’s worse, not getting mentioned at all, or being portrayed with data that can’t stand up to statistical scrutiny.  In our minds, the latter is much worse and far more dangerous to both vendors and readers.  

    Art Wittmann
    VP/Director, InformationWeek Reports
    Editor, InformationWeek
    TechWeb, a UBM Company

  • M. Goodman

    It’s interesting to note that the three primary evaluation requirements were reliability, performance and flexibility. It is unfortunate for Silver Peak they weren’t highlighted more as an aside, because they are known for having the highest “performance” appliances, and they’re network-based (which also plays into “flexibility”). Clearly not a true across-the-board vendor evaluation, but another evaluation of the largest vendors. The methodology I suppose makes some sense, but is that really what readers want or even need to see to help make a buying decision?  Going forward, innovation is going to play a key role in WANop evaluation criteria. What is innovative today will be fundamental tomorrow. To this point, in the not too distant future, I suspect WANop virtualization could certainly be a top criteria, and “flexibility” being prioritized higher than any of the above criteria for selecting a WANop product. It was interesting to see that nearly 40% of those surveyed are considering adding or replacing their existing WANop solutions. That indicates to me that the reliability, performance and support factors of the large vendors are insufficient to satisfactorily meet customer needs.