Available as a physical or virtual appliance, the new offering is designed to provide reliability at reasonable cost to server-less remote locations which are about as helpless as Chromebooks if network access is lost.
Citrix has announced its CloudBridge Virtual WAN Edition, designed to scale modern WAN bandwidth issues and provide ‘always-on’ branch availability at a much lower cost than has been the case.
“We began to recognize the problem about two years ago and started to design a solution to the problem,” said Chalan Aras, VP and GM of the CloudBridge Business Unit at Citrix. “Before that, video consumption wasn’t as much of an issue. Companies just wouldn’t let their employees watch videos. So before that, this was only a small opportunity for more advanced customers.”
The change, of course, is that business users began to use more applications consuming a lot more bandwidth, particularly more video for business purposes.
“In areas like retail, video has become the new data sheet,” Aras said. “The challenge with video is that every bit of information is not as valuable as a bit of a voice call or application. But if you don’t have that capacity, you can’t watch video.”
Aras also said that as more and more applications were migrated to the data centres, remote offices have become server-less, complicating the problem.
“It creates an immediate challenge entirely dependent on having network access, because having the network down in these branches is like having a Chromebook offline,” he said. “Having reliable access is a huge question. The question is how to address that issue of reliable connectivity, that ‘always-on’ branch ability.
“Today, they have to grin and bear the cost of additional bandwidth but not everyone can afford that,” Aras added. “Enterprises have been crying for a solution. Some folks have tried to use the Internet ‘as is’ to increase capacity, but it’s not reliable and SLAs are not as strong.”
The new CloudBridge Virtual WAN solution responds to this issue by extending the CloudBridge platform and its integration with the company’s HDX and application acceleration technologies. It creates a virtualized WAN by bonding multiple network services which allow MPLS to be augmented with more cost-effective broadband services like broadband, mobile and satellite internet together, to maximize WAN capacity and reliability. It also sends mission-critical, delay-sensitive data over the highest performing path to ensure the best possible user experience.
“It does an awesome job with VoIP, so there are no ‘snap crackle pops,’” Aras said
CloudBridge Virtual WAN also lets back-up links be used before a failure occurs, which lets link capacity be easily and seamlessly pooled. This reduces wasted bandwidth and saves money.
“It combines the best of both worlds – giving customers the reliability they want at a reasonable cost,” Aras said.
Finally, the CloudBridge Virtual WAN Center gives customers full visibility into the WAN and all of the application delivery process, allowing them to easily manage and monitor WAN performance.
The offering is designed to be enterprise capable, but it plays more broadly than that, and is really more dependent on the profile of the customer.
“It is for distributed businesses with multiple locations, with 5-10 being a reasonable starting point,” Aras said. “Rather than just being offices, business would be conducted in those remote locations – buying, selling or serving users.” This would encompass a broad range of verticals like banking, retail, medical, business networks, product distribution, and government.
Aras said this type of product is also well suited to the channel.
“It requires quite a lot of installation,” he said. “Partners would design the deployment and make the physical install. “It lets them bundle this with telecom services that they sell.”
Aras said partners need to consider that WAN services is now a $10-12 billion market per year.
“Having a stronger solution here could be quite lucrative,” he said.
The CloudBridge Virtual WAN solution can be purchased as either a physical or virtual appliance.