Who Really Won Network World’s WAN Optimization Test?

check-boxIt’s one thing to read a headline, but quite another to read between the lines. Such was the case with Network World’s recent WAN optimization test titled “Riverbed wins 7-vendor WAN optimization test.”

In the sporting world, “winning” might be everything, but in a technology product review, winning can often be a technicality because of how a particular test plan was conceived and where the scoring chips fell. And in the end, one has to ask: Does that equal solving a customer’s pain?

Network World’s recently published product review was largely based on a seven-year-old test plan led by a product tester who admittedly preferred working with “hardware-based” WAN optimization. (I remember the somewhat surprised reaction from the reviewer when we said we would ship a Dell server running VMware and Silver Peak.)

Well, seven years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the world and hardware-based WAN optimization was all there was, this test plan would have been fine, and network managers around the world could simply stop reading after the words “Riverbed wins…”

But this is the future, and network administrators are smart folks who read beyond headlines. These are the same technical leaders that also realize their IT environments are evolving rapidly, and that virtualization is here to stay.

So as we dive deeper into this review, we actually find that Silver Peak received the top marks for performance, and did so with a virtual machine tested alongside a bunch of proprietary hardware products. Wow!  Did you catch that? Now, this is where it really gets good.

Silver Peak’s VX software was tested alongside hardware products from Riverbed, Cisco and others in a simulated environment of 100 branch offices. Based on the various products tested and the cost of those products, Silver Peak emerged as the most affordable WAN optimization solution for this size environment, coming in at a price point of 58% less than Cisco and 54% less than Riverbed – all while delivering top-notch performance. That’s undeniable value that no IT organization can ignore.

Here’s what else you might have missed from the product test:

“Silver Peak is so confident in their virtualization performance that it didn’t even ship us dedicated appliances – it had us run their software as a VM within VMware. Because our testing proved that Silver Peak kept up or beat the rest of the market when it came to performance improvements, we’re true believers now too.”

“Silver Peak’s VX-series kicked most of the market to the curb when it came to performance improvements.”

“For great performance, we were again impressed with Silver Peak, a top scorer in our 2007 test.  Tied for first place in our compression and de-duplication tests, Silver Peak’s VX-series and NX-series simply makes things go faster.”

“Silver Peak VX-series beat the competition in email compression, both in low-latency and high-latency environments.”

With regards to Citrix traffic: “We weren’t surprised to find that Silver Peak VX-series led the pack in performance.”

Silver Peak also ranked as a top contender in the article’s “Long-term Analysis.”