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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Interview with Rick Tinsley, Former CEO of Silver Peak (Part 2)

Posted on Thursday, Jul 11th 2013

Sramana Mitra: So what you do is load balancing on intranet traffic?

Rick Tinsley: It is not load balancing. It is called WAN optimization or WAN acceleration – networks that extend over great distances. Our products are network elements, although recently they have been purely software-based products. But we employ a variety of techniques that allow data to move more efficiently, quickly and cost-effectively across those enterprise locations, whether it is data being protected between a data center and a disaster recovery facility – to mitigate against catastrophes – or data from users in remote offices that have to access data, computing, and storage infrastructures in data centers that are thousands of miles away. Or data that is moving between one company to another.

Many of our customers are Web 2.0 type companies, and they need to replicate a lot of their data to various data centers around the world or content distribution networks to make it more available to their customers. We are all about the mobility of big data, helping large distributed enterprises move large amounts of data over very large distances rapidly and efficiently. Customers use our technology both to save money, so they can accomplish those data movement objectives much more cost effectively, as well as to keep a higher level of performance. That performance may be in user performance in terms of users’ running applications that otherwise would be limited by that distance, or performance in terms of providing better reliability, availability and better uptime for critical data resources across a large global network.

SM: Could you contrast what you do with what Akamai does?

RT: Akamai is the leader in content distribution networking. They basically cash a lot of objects that are being distributed primarily to consumers. If you, as a consumer, go online and buy songs, videos, or software, the chances are that these go through a content distribution network. That is an intermediate network between the producers of content and the individual consumers of content. The network is the last-mile link between where the content is produced and where it is ultimately consumed.

We don’t deal with that particular part. We are focused on the movement of data within the enterprise. Apple, for example, is our largest customer. Apple is probably one of Akamai’s largest customers as well. I don’t know that for sure. But Akamai helps companies like Apple get content from Apple’s facilities to their customers’ desktop computers or mobile devices.

SM: Our audience knows Akamai quite well – we have covered them extensively. I was looking more for a contrast to help them understand what you do.

RT: We deal with a different part of the data supply chain. Apple uses our products to move their own data between their own data centers and locations. Within Apple’s facilities is where Silver Peak accelerates the flow of data.

SM: Can you give an example of what kind of data is being moved? What kind of traffic is causing congestion in the enterprise world?

RT: The primary use case why large web companies would use us to address are data replication. To understand in an Apple, Expedia, or CareerBuilder – all of them are customers of ours – they have a lot of their own data centers around the world. From those data centers they may be distributing traffic to Akamai, who will then further distribute it to consumers. Silver Peak helps those customers get the data to and from their own internal facilities. Think of it as freeways versus service streets. We are probably dealing with the freeway type movement of data – very large amounts of bulk data moving over a very large high-speed infrastructure. When it gets down to the individual street level or driveway level to an individual consumer, that is more for a content distribution network like an Akamai or other companies.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Interview with Rick Tinsley, Former CEO of Silver Peak
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