Aruba Gets Into WAN Acceleration

Wireless networking vendor continues its move into the wired space with new effort that puts more networking assets into the cloud.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Mar 30, 2010
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Why put networking assets on-site when you can put them in the cloud? That's part of the premise of the new Virtual Branch Network 2.0 (VBN) solution from wireless networking vendor Aruba Networks.

With VBN 2.0, Aruba is providing its users with WAN acceleration technology as well as cloud-based security. Aruba (NASDAQ: ARUN) had traditionally been known as a wireless networking vendor, but in recent years has been moving into the wired space. Now, VBN 2.0 expands on the promise of Aruba's first VBN solution, which aimed to provide users with remote branch services from a single access point.

"When we introduced VBN 1.0, the goal was to simplify connectivity and security from the branch office back to the corporate datacenter," Mike Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing for Aruba told InternetNews.com. "VBN 2.0 is the beginning of the cloud-based branch and we think, ultimately, that will render branch routers obsolete."

The VBN 2.0 solution leverages the Linux-based RAP (Remote Access Point) devices that were part of Aruba's VBN 1.0 launch as well as provides a new Virtual Intranet Access (VIA) for mobile laptop users.

The new services include the Application Acceleration Service (AAS), which is a WAN acceleration service that Tennefoss said could boost application speed by 20 times.

The new AAS WAN acceleration technology offered by Aruba is not an entirely home-grown technology. Tennefoss noted that Aruba is working with a partner on the technology but declined to name the vendor. He added that Aruba is targeting smaller branch offices and remote workers, which is where he sees the sweet spot for application acceleration.

Focus on WAN acceleration, cloud-based security

The WAN acceleration space that Aruba is now entering is a crowded one, with multiple vendors including Cisco, Riverbed and Blue Coat all vying for a piece of the pie. However, that pie is increasing in size, with the market for WAN optimization growing from a projected $1.19 billion this year to $1.53 billion by 2014, according to Infonetics.

In addition to acceleration, Aruba is providing a cloud-based Content Security Service (CSS) to provide security and filtering to VBN 2.0 users. Tennefoss said that CSS also enable network administrators to set policies for things like bandwidth allocation as well. Additionally, the service includes DLP (digital loss prevention) capabilities to help ensure that confidential information doesn't leave the network.

The move to protect application acceleration endpoints with a cloud-based security service isn't entire unique to Aruba. Since 2008, rival Blue Coat has been deploying its ProxyClient, which provides remote user acceleration and security in the cloud by way of the company's WebPulse service.

The other key item that Aruba is offering as part of VBN 2.0 is integrated Content Delivery Network (CDN) access. The CDN access enables users to cache files on a CDN network delivering faster response times. While there are several large CDNs in the market today, including Akamai and Limelight, Tennefoss declined to specifically name the CND vendors that Aruba is working with.

"We're working with best-in-class partners -- plural," Tennefoss said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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