WAN Optimization

In this article, you and I will review some of the key reasons why most businesses need to deploy a WAN Optimization and WAN Application Acceleration Solution quickly.

Here is the list:

#1 – Server and Storage Consolidation

#2 – Disaster Recovery

#3 – Reduce WAN Bandwidth

#4 – Backup Consolidation and Data Replication

#5 – Data Protection and Regulatory Requirements

#6 – Increased Productivity Gains

#7 – Mobile Workers and Traveling Executives

#8 – Network Growth and Management

#9 – IT Efficiency


Now let’s dive into each one in more detail:


#1 Server & Storage Consolidation – It’s no secret that server sprawl and the “never delete anything” mindset is causing big headaches for IT professionals. Many companies either already have, or are in the process of consolidating servers and storage out of branch offices and into centralized data centers or host locations using virtual machines and storage area networks (SANs). This consolidation typically reduces cost and enables IT organizations to have better control over the company data. While server and storage consolidation produces many benefits, it can also produce some significant performance issues. Server consolidation typically results in chatty protocols such as CIFS (Common Internet File System), Exchange or NFS (Network File System), which were designed to run over the LAN, running over the WAN. For most of our customers we recommend that they deploy WAN accelerators before beginning to consolidate the server and storage environment so that end users do not have to deal with the performance impact associated with centralizing servers and data. At the end of the day you are able to get control of server sprawl, control the ever growing storage needs while simultaneously giving your end users LAN like application performance.

#2 Disaster Recovery – Have you deployed and tested a real DR strategy? Are you getting increased pressure from management to ensure resilient business continuity? With the growing importance of disaster recovery, businesses are relying heavily on WAN-based backup and data replication to secure important files and data. Backup and replication over the WAN ensures that data can be safely protected at a distance to the primary site, but also introduces new performance challenges that require companies to seek out methods that accelerate WAN backup applications. Disaster recovery and business continuity strategies can improve dramatically when businesses deploy a WAN Acceleration solution. This allows for the use of existing WAN bandwidth and allows IT to leverage an existing branch office as their DR site, rather than resorting to expensive 3rd party disaster recovery options. Now for the first time, even small organizations can leverage the combination of WAN acceleration, virtual servers, and IP SANs to be prepared for the worst scenario.

#3 Reduced WAN Bandwidth – “We’ll just increase the bandwidth!” Ever made that statement? Now you have another option that actually works. Whether it’s the inability to upgrade bandwidth at a few locations, or just the sheer amount of applications needed, there is a seemingly constant concern for managing bandwidth. By accelerating application performance, and reducing bandwidth utilization, WAN Accelerators enable the delivery of applications despite bandwidth limitations. The magnitude of the change is significant enough to change the end-user experience and also the nature in which they work. With WAN Accelerators deployed you can reduce your current WAN bandwidth by up to 95%. This allows for easy deployment of new applications such as voice and video over IP. This can really an eye opener when you see it in action!

#4 Backup Consolidation and Data Replication – Does the thought of restoring corrupted data keep you up at night? For faster and more reliable access to protected data, backup technology has moved beyond tape cartridges to spinning disk. Disk-to-disk and more scalable volume management systems allow for low-latency data to be backed up or restored in a fraction of the time required with tape. Data backup and recovery windows with WAN acceleration can go from 1 day to 2 hours. These innovations open the way for IT organizations to build security and scalability into their data protection architecture. Yet without the use of WAN acceleration to extend these benefits to distant remote branches, centralized backup cannot operate beyond the LAN without also creating congested pipes and soaring bandwidth costs.

#5 Data Protection and Regulatory Requirements – “SOX, SAS, PCI, and FISMA – Calgon take me away!” Regulatory compliance is forcing organizations to increase the security and maintainability of data center passwords. Customers report that by implementing the WAN Acceleration appliances, they are able to handle data protection in a completely different way. Instead of having to risk the loss and damage to tapes and with physical transportation to a backup facility, they can automate the process over the wide area. Not only does it save time, but it brings a new level of protection to sensitive company information. Keeping the auditors off your back!

#6 Increased Productivity – “My computer is slow, can you make this program work faster?” WAN Acceleration increases user productivity by speeding the performance of applications between distributed sites and between remote offices and enterprise data centers, allowing faster access to centrally located applications and facilitating collaboration within a distributed workforce. The appliances also have a number of features designed to optimize the work of IT. IDC (a research firm) found recently that improved user productivity accounted for the greatest benefits from deploying WAN Acceleration appliances. On average, users increased their productive time by 7.4%, saving 10.6 hours annually. These savings averaged $102,741 per 100 users per year.

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#7 Mobile Workers and Traveling Executives – Businesses are becoming increasingly distributed. We’ve found that companies must support a large number of branch locations, vendor relationships, and employees that are simply no longer in the traditional headquarter location. As more and more users work outside of the traditional office, the need for them to connect to the critical corporate applications with “LAN like” performance is overwhelming. Mobile WAN Acceleration is allowing more and more employees to work in a productive manner outside of the standard office environment. A recent survey found that 23 percent of American workers regularly do their jobs from someplace besides the office, and that 62 percent of respondents who cannot work off-site would like to. The survey also found that workers prized the ability to telecommute more highly than stock options or on-site child care. This demand will only continue.

#8 Network Growth and Management – The IT staff of most businesses has not really grown over the past 5 years, yet that same staff is responsible for maintaining more and more network infrastructure as the business grows and the bottom line becomes more reliant on that network. With WAN Acceleration, the IT staff can simplify the setup and management of new and existing branch offices as well as set up regular reporting to easily keep track of the branch offices application usage and available WAN bandwidth when the need to roll out a new application presents itself. All of the WAN Accelerators can be centrally managed and updated by the single WAN Acceleration management appliance.

#9 IT Efficiency – In addition to seeking to reduce costs and drive new revenue, organizations use WAN Optimization and Application Acceleration Solutions to enable operational efficiency. Reducing calls to the IT help desk is a very concrete benefit to the IT organization in multiple ways. Also, IT can now quickly roll out new applications across the enterprise without the application performance concerns that have slowed the deployment of new apps in the past.

#10 COST SAVINGS! – The Return on Investment (ROI) can be impressive and immediate. Businesses save money immediately on the reduction in server maintenance (and of course replacement costs since they are no longer present). They avoid the costs of upgrading the WAN in an effort to increase performance, the cost of a WAN link to a branch can easily be thousands of dollars per month. Even the costs of backup and associated tapes and off-site media storage can be very significant. Lastly, it allows the business to avoid making new infrastructure purchases and reduces the need to hire new employees as the business grows because productivity of the business’ existing staff has been enhanced tremendously.

I hope this has been an informative review of the key reasons why you need to deploy WAN optimization and application acceleration in your network environment.