About Replify Products - CLAN: A unique approach to WAN Optimization
In “What is WAN Optimization” we explained the concept and general principles of WAN optimization. Now let’s talk about Replify’s approach. We are unique in the market-place having a very particular vision and implementation. Historically WAN Optimization has been delivered in the form of hardware “appliances”: physical devices installed at either end of each WAN link to be accelerated. These boxes range in size from a shoe-box to a 19″ rack filler, they are expensive to purchase, ship and install and they are inflexible. They have also been developed by people with a network background and mindset.
Replify was different from the start – we saw this as an application usability problem, not just about bits on a wire. We didn’t see why the problem needed expensive custom hardware devices when virtualization and cost-effective commodity hardware could offer so much more flexibility. We came from a mixture of networking and enterprise applications backgrounds and we understood the working patterns of modern businesses and the need to provide application acceleration for roaming workers, not just those in sites. We foresaw the emergence of cloud, wherein the whole idea of trying to place tin-box accelerators in front of your business applications would be totally infeasible. And we saw even further, to a dissolving of the notion of sites and fixed places of work, where the idea of a shared accelerator device (be it physical or virtual) breaks down.
From the start Replify designed its Accelerator product to be a “virtual” appliance: download it and install it anywhere in the world in minutes – be that on a shared platform for many users or an individual PC for just one. Run it on whatever size of platform (virtual or bare-metal) that you wish. Scale it up and down to meet your needs. Decide what traffic to accelerate with whatever granularity you like, right down to choosing individual users, and individual applications, with location awareness so that acceleration is only provided when and where needed to whomever needs it. We were first to market with our virtual WAN Acceleration product but others quickly followed. Of course the established vendors were quick to dismiss “virtual appliances” on all kinds of spurious grounds, but then they had a hardware business with high margins to protect. As the Cloud movement has gathered momentum they’ve had to change their tune and bring out their own virtual appliances and make claims to having been hardware agnostic all along.
Everyone can now see that we were right about the need for “virtual appliances”, and in September ’11 TRAC Research, a leading US analyst, reported that “Quality of end-user experience” had jumped to the top of the list of KPIs for evaluation WAN performance, so we were right to make that our focus also. We think we’re right about the third strand of our philosophy also: the value of individual WAN optimization and the need for an “appliance-less” solution for the new world. The first step was the move from a hardware appliance to a virtual appliance. The second step was to deliver that virtual appliance to individual roaming PCs to provide virtual WAN optimization. The third step is to make those individual clients smart enough to clump together and share their cached data when the circumstances are right, and thereby deliver all the benefits of a site-level device, but without the need for any site infrastructure whatsoever. We call this intelligent collaboration CLAN (Co-operative LAN), we have a patent pending, and we believe it’s going to change the WAN optimization market dramatically. Why would any business deploy additional expensive hardware in a site, power it, cool it, support it, when there is plenty of spare computing and storage in the desktop and laptop PCs to provide all the WAN acceleration they need, with the additional benefit that when users roam from the site they continue to get acceleration on an individual basis?
We’re currently porting this capability to other platforms so that the full range of devices which feature in today’s enterprise can participate in this powerful new model.