Enterprises warm to of WAN optimization tools

Bojan Simic, TRAC Research
The wide area network (WAN) optimization market has been well defined in terms of the technology capabilities required by enterprise end-users.
 
Techniques such as data compression, caching, Quality of Service (QoS) and protocol-specific acceleration have been around for quite some time. From the technology perspective, the market hasn't changed much over the last two or three years.
 
One of the most significant changes in this market, however, is the emergence of new delivery methods for providing these WAN optimization capabilities to end-users. WAN optimization deployments are no longer described solely as buying a piece of hardware directly from a vendor or value-added reseller, and managing it inside the enterprise. These solutions are increasingly being delivered to enterprises as licensed software, virtual appliances or managed services.
 
Telecom carriers are realizing that what enterprises really want from their networks is the ability to seamlessly deliver applications. As a result, they have started partnering with WAN optimization vendors to add WAN acceleration and application performance management services to their portfolios.
 
The emergence of managed services in the WAN optimization market results from several trends that are being driven by enterprises, and they can be summarized as follows:
 
Application SLAs are taking over network SLAs. Whether their network is up or down doesn't really tell enterprises much about how they are doing in terms of managing the performance of IT services. As a result, they are becoming more interested in a service-level agreement (SLA) around application performance as opposed to more traditional network-performance-based SLAs, such as network uptime and downtime and mean time to repair (MTTR). In order to meet these requirements, telecom providers needed new technology capabilities so they could guarantee the speed and availability of applications being delivered over the WAN. As a result, they started offering services that can control the delivery of business-critical data, from the point of end-user interaction all the way to the data center. WAN optimization technologies became one of the key enablers of these services.
 

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