Quad CPUs gives Exinda WAN Optimization a Kick

New top line model ups throughput to 10 Gbps thanks to new processors. An industry analyst says data centres can take advantage of more powerful WAN optimization.
When chipmakers unveil new CPUs, appliance manufacturers are quick to take advantage of the improved performance. That includes Exinda Networks, which has stuffed Intel’s latest Xeon quad processor into its new 10060-series WAN optimization device to claim a four-fold increase in throughput over its previous leading appliance.
Officially headquartered in Andover, Mass., but based in Toronto, Exinda released the new unit on Tuesday along with version 5.5 of ExOS, the software that actually runs the appliances.
Kevin Suitor, the company’s vice-president of marketing, said the 10060 is aimed at service providers and enterprise data centres. Built around a 2U-sized Dell R-810 sever, the 10060 has four Intel L7555 l.86 Ghz processors with a total of 32 cores that boost throughput on the fastest model to 10 Gigabits per second from 2.5 Gbps for the dual processor powered 8060. Acceleration has also doubled.
“We accelerate both reads and writes,” said Suitor. “We make the WAN feel like a LAN.”
He believes the more powerful appliances will appeal to universities — which want to control how thousands of students use their Internet connections — and Internet service providers. ISPs can use the appliance to applying policies to ensure their service level agreements are being met, he said.
Zeus Kerravala, senior vice-president of enterprise research at the Yankee Group, hadn’t been briefed on the new unit. However, he said that the WAN optimization, which had been focused on branch offices, is now aiming at data centres.
“As powerful as this has been in branches, it will have an even bigger effect in data centres because the amount of traffic being replicated between data centres continues to grow by leaps and bounds.” Some of this is due to consolidation of data centres, he said, as well as the increased movement of virtual workloads between data centres.
“I’ve talked to people who use this technology in the data centre and the ROI (return in investment) is huge. I was speaking to one company that was considering building more regional data centres to serve local branches, and they were able to avoid that through WAN optimization.”
One thing Exinda has going against it is its size. The company, by Suitor’s admission, isn’t as well known as other pure-play WAN optimization companies such as Blue Coat Systems Inc. and Riverbed Technology Inc. — which, according to Kerravala, hold at least half of the market. Other WAN optimization makers include Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc.
Bojan Simic, principal analyst at Boston-based TRAC Research, who was briefed on the announcement, said the new appliance lets Exinda compete better against Cisco and Riverbed.
What he noticed is that most Exinda models can be bought with bandwidth management not application acceleration, or together on one platform. That gives purchases flexibility, he said. Meanwhile Riverbed and Blue Coat still sell WAN optimization appliances separately from bandwidth management, he said. The Exinda pricing “should resonate well with some end users,” he added.
Suitor said one advantage Exinda has is that it can prioritize VoIP traffic as well as offer quality of service and traffic shaping.
Like all of its models, the Exinda 10060-series is sold in two versions: The 10760 includes visibility from layers 1 through 7 and traffic control capabilities, while the 10860 adds optimization. Buyers of the 10760 have a choice of licencing one of three levels of throughput (2.5,5 and 10 Gbps full duplex) handling up to 250,000 concurrent users, while the 10860 has two levels and can handle up to 12,000 concurrent users. By necessity, optimization slows down the 10870’s performance.
All units come with six hard drives totalling 3 TB of RAID-configured hard drives.
A fully-configured 10760 lists at US$250,000, while a fully-loaded OC3-capable 10860 lists at US$200,000.
Both models include 10 wide-area ports, with each link capable of being optimized independently.
Suitor said the 10760’s closest competitor is Blue Coat’s PacketShaper and Riverbed’s Steelhead appliances.
ExOS 5.5 has been enhanced in a number of ways, including what the company calls Exinda Services Platform, which is the ability to host a virtual partition on three of its appliances supporting applications such as Replify Ltd.’s soft wide area application controller (SoftWOC), which enables extending optimization to laptops through a mobile client. In the future additional applications will be added such as firewalls, DNS and IP address management and Windows server support, Suitor said.
In addition, ExOS 5.5 allows the exporting of x-flow data to third party performance monitoring software. Also, a VLAN rewrite capability will allow service providers to tag VLAN identifiers by a number of criteria.
Founded in 2002, Exinda has 45 employees around the world, including a research and development team in Australia.