To be available as software for certain CloudBridge appliances and at a later date as a virtual appliance for use on AWS and other cloud services, Citrix CloudBridge Virtual WAN Edition addresses a problem that's particularly common in some Australian industries: the lack of affordable dedicated connections.
CloudBridge Virtual WAN combines multiple connections - MPLS, 3G, 4G, DSL, satellite and so on - with the intelligence necessary to deliver business-grade performance over what may be consumer-grade links, and at a lower total cost.
Citrix ANZ senior manager of networking sales Phil Caleno told iTWire that connectivity costs are a particular issue for Australian companies working in regional and remote areas where the low population density means they would have to bear most of the cost of installing high-capacity links.
It does not just monitor the links, it also profiles the data traffic and assigns individual connections to the most suitable link. For example, latency is not important for email, so it could be delivered over a high-latency link, leaving the lower-latency channels free for traffic that needs it, such as VoIP or video.
Significantly, this process is performed dynamically, responding to changes in line conditions (e.g., when neighbouring residents get home from school or work and start using Netflix, loading up the local DSLAM), and a particular stream of data may be moved between links during one logical connection such as a voice call.
This approach also means that standby links can be put into routine use, maximising the available bandwidth. CloudBridge Virtual WAN has a "clean and simple GUI so customers don't need to be routing superstars" to achieve this, Caleno said, even in situations where 100 branches each connect to a data centre by as many as five links each.
There is provision for duplicating the most important and sensitive traffic across two links, discarding whichever of the two packets is last to arrive at the destination.
CloudBridge Virtual WAN is also smart enough to detect when traffic is flowing between two branch locations and reroute it via the internet (with encryption) rather than hairpinning via the data centre. Creating an opportunistic mesh in this way also reduces latency, but that's just a useful side benefit, he said.
CloudBridge Virtual WAN integrates with Citrix's HDX and application acceleration technologies for remote and branch offices.
Using multiple DSL links can be "10 to 15 times cheaper than an MPLS circuit," said Caleno, so there is also potential to replace some MPLS capacity and save money.
Customers can expect CloudBridge Virtual WAN to pay for itself within a year, he added.
CloudBridge Virtual WAN will be available this quarter.
Costs will be further reduced in a subsequent release, which will allow users to reduce the amount of connection-quality-checking traffic flowing over links that have a relatively high marginal cost (e.g., 4G). This capability has been requested by customers that have been given early access to the product in Australia and certain other countries, Caleno said.