Virtela Extends WAN Optimization Service to Cloud-Based Data Centers

Virtela adds Cloud Accelerator, a new service to its cloud services portfolio that optimizes network traffic for data centers on any public cloud environment.

Virtela expanded its cloud services portfolio with a new WAN acceleration service for customers utilizing public clouds for their data centers, the company said Jan. 26.

Similar to the WAN Acceleration service Virtela launched in the summer, Cloud Accelerator speeds up application performance between customer offices and cloud systems. The new service speeds up traffic across the virtual network all the way to the virtual servers customers have set up inside cloud providers' networks, Mark Weiner, senior vice president of marketing at Virtela, told eWEEK.

Customers moving applications to cloud data centers such as Amazon EC2 are still concerned with application performance and keeping it optimized, Weiner said.

Large enterprises will be shifting more IT services to the cloud, B.V. Jagadeesh, Virtela's new CEO, told eWEEK. The technology being used doesn't matter, as the customer just cares about getting the network performance promised in the service-level agreement, Jagadeesh said.

While most enterprises will keep mission-critical applications running in a private cloud, enterprises are experimenting with running other applications in the public cloud, he said. "Even the most conservative companies are going to experiment by running these applications in the public cloud," he said.

With the addition of the Cloud Accelerator service, Virtela is prepared to support customers as they move to the cloud, Weiner said. The company now has the capability to optimize customer networks regardless of whether the data center is in public, private or hybrid cloud, remote offices or on-premises, he said.

Since Cloud Accelerator does not depend on the underlying hypervisor, enterprises can use the service with any public cloud provider, said Weiner. The service is deployed as a virtual instance of the acceleration software onto a virtual machine within the customer's public cloud environment, Weiner said. Since the software is installed onto the virtual machine, the cloud provider doesn't need to get involved, according to Weiner.

The company is still developing relationships with public cloud providers, Weiner said.

Virtela is so confident in its service that it is promising speeds up to five times faster. Furthermore, if the customer isn't satisfied with the service or if it doesn't match the service-level agreement, then the provider will refund 250 percent of the service charge, the company said.

Unlike the traditional telecommunications provider that is often locked into a specific vendor's platform, Virtela is taking an open approach to maintain its independence, Weiner said. Virtela is not locked in with any vendor as it invests in different technology sources, "even open source, and building it ourselves, if necessary," he said.

Virtela customers don't see what underlying technology the company is using to optimize their network because everything is presented through a common management console developed by Virtela, Weiner said.

"We own the handle and put in our own blade, whether it's a screwdriver, a knife or a bottle opener. Customers don't care what the blade is because they see just the handle." Weiner said.

Virtela launched last year Enterprise Services Cloud (ESC), a cloud services platform purpose-built for enterprise networking, security and mobility. Its WAN Acceleration service optimizes traffic as it crosses over the company's network from one Virtela data center to another, said Weiner. There are 50 of these data centers, which Virtela calls local cloud centers, globally. The cloud centers were built to be near as many customers as possible so that there is no significant network impact for traffic going from the customer site to the first cloud center, Weiner said.

Customers can accelerate their application without buying additional technology because Virtela does it in the cloud, said Jagadeesh.

Virtela plans to move deeper into outsourced IT services and cloud computing, Jagadeesh said. Enterprises want to be "more strategic" and are looking for trusted partners who can provide those core and advanced IT services, he said. The company will bring "more intelligence into the network" to offer more IT services beyond WAN acceleration, such as security and mobile applications, Jagadeesh said.

The Cloud Accelerator service will be available by the end of March. The company is still discussing how to charge for the service, but for the time being customers will pay monthly fees per cloud instance, Weiner said. Virtela is still discussing "innovative" models that may make pricing more like cloud computing's pay-for-what-you-use model, he said.