In a recent blog by Randy George over at Network Computing, he gets a little excited over the prospects of running 100% virtual, and is somewhat dismissive of hardware appliances. Buried in toward the end of the post is a note that says he’ll be running tests of virtual Wan Optimization tools, which explains his excitement up front a bit.

Lori and I used to write for Network Computing (NWC), before it went away, then returned as a web pub. We never worked with Mr. George, but we have worked with some of the people who are still with the magazine, so I am hoping that this review he’s talking about doing is done in the old-school NWC fashion, and not in the manner that this introductory post comes across as.

His premise, early on, is that appliance vendors have been ripping off customers by putting their products on name-brand servers and slapping a logo on them. He names some names, and I view it as a positive that F5 wasn’t in that list, since this is very much not the case with WOM. He further implies that virtualized products are the match for physical, because you can always “spin up more”. We’ve seen the “slap a sticker on that server and 10x the price” syndrome, but WanOpt is a large market to point a finger at and make such a sweeping accusation. That’s a per-vendor problem, not a Wan Optimization Market problem.

This type of test will be interesting if, Mr. George allows for some rudimentary truths and conducts the testing from the perspective of “where do virtual Web Acceleration Controllers fit?” rather than his proposed “Virtual Web Acceleration Controllers are it, I’ll compare them and tell you which one rocks.” Here’s why.

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