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Like competing products and services from vendors such as Riverbed and Aryaka, aCelera Cloud is aimed at boosting performance and reducing bandwidth needs for cloud applications. The cloud version's main selling points are its integration with Certeon's in-house software and its wide support for cloud platforms, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen, Linux KVM, and Amazon EC2.
Certeon is the softest of the WAN optimization vendors, having switched entirely from selling boxes to selling virtual appliances about two years ago. It says that it made the move for the same reason that enterprises themselves are adopting virtualization: because software is more flexible, scaling capacity with the resources dedicated to the virtual machine on which it runs. The same applies to cloud computing. "There's nothing unique in the hardware boxes," Certeon CEO Peter Dougherty said in an interview. "They're all just PCs."
Though other WAN optimization vendors also offer virtual appliance versions of their systems, Certeon says that its dedication to virtualization gives it an advantage. Specifically, it can run under any x86 virtualization platform and has flexible resource requirements, allowing enterprises to dedicate as much of a virtual server's capacity to WAN optimization as they need. The focus on software also means that the Certeon's soft client for laptops offers all the same features as its virtual appliance, though any branch office with more than one user will likely see a greater performance boost from the virtual as data deduplication means that traffic destined for multiple users need only be sent once.
Like WAN optimization hardware, Certeon's software needs to be installed at both ends of a WAN link. In a cloud configuration, this usually means a virtual appliance at an enterprise data center and another one running within the cloud provider's network, so to Certeon the cloud is simply another platform on which a virtual appliance can run. This differs from Riverbed's cloud strategy, which is based on partnerships with cloud providers that let Riverbed sell WAN optimization as a service.
Certeon's own partnership program is aimed at its resellers, who also provide support and help configuring the software--for example, setting up VMs for customers who don't already have virtualization. It guarantees resellers a minimum 20% profit margin by reducing its own prices to match discounts that resellers offer customers, something easier for a software vendor than a hardware vendor to do.
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