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.
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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.