A common discussion I hear a lot is around how to ensure application performance when accessed remotely over WAN from a centralized data center. At the same time, efficiently utilizing the limited network bandwidth available is key to customers. Cisco WAAS solution can help achieve both these objectives in a cost efficient way.
WAAS (Wide Area Application Services) is Cisco’s WAN optimization solution that helps accelerate enterprise applications delivery and data transfer in cloud. The key benefits that Cisco WAAS solution provides for enterprise applications are:
- Improving end user experience for the global workforce accessing enterprise applications in private/virtual private clouds, resulting in enhanced productivity.
- Improving efficiency (reduced bandwidth requirements/time) for remote replication of the enterprise application data to the DR site are
The requirement for optimizing WAN traffic becomes even more critical as customers continue to adopt data center virtualization and private/hybrid cloud to run their most demanding applications.
Deployment flexibility/options with Cisco WAAS
Cisco WAAS offers multiple deployment options (both physical and virtualized), and can easily plug into different architectures across your datacenter/private cloud, virtual private cloud at service provider, remote/branch offices, Backup/DR site, and mobile workforce. The picture below shows the different deployment options available with Cisco WAAS.
With this flexibility, it becomes important to understand the big picture and the scenarios where each of these different deployment options fit. The picture below shows 50,000 feet view of a typical global enterprise that may have one or more primary data centers/private cloud. The enterprise may also have one or more remote/branch offices connected over WAN to the primary data centers. In addition, there may be some global/mobile workforce that requires access to enterprise applications hosted in the datacenter. The organization may typically also have a remote backups/DR site where the application data gets replicated.
Finally, the enterprise may also run some applications off a virtual private cloud at a service provider location.
To achieve business agility for such a global environment, WAN optimization becomes critical piece of the equation.
The great news is that the WAAS deployment options listed earlier provide compelling value for each of these application access and data transfer locations.
What WAAS deployment option fits where?
The picture below shows the typical scenarios where each of the WAAS deployment options (shown in color Red) may fit well in your environment.
- For a Data Center/Private cloud running majority of the enterprise applications, from scalability perspective, physical WAAS appliance or even a virtual WAAS (vWAAS) appliance may provide great value. The innovative Cisco vWAAS solution was discussed in detail earlier here.
- Remote and branch offices may not always need a physical WAAS appliance and could benefit from implementing WAAS Express or a WAAS Service Module on SRE in the ISR G2 router.
- For a virtual private cloud hosted at a service provider facility, each tenant may benefit from their dedicated vWAAS appliances, allowing WAN acceleration, along with the desired secure separation.
- The mobile workforce accessing application remotely from their laptop can achieve better experience leveraging the WAAS mobile solution.
- Finally, the remote backup/DR site receiving the replicated data from the primary data center/private cloud may benefit from a physical WAAS appliance implementation.
Cisco WAAS deployment flexibility, completeness of vision, and the ability to execute got the solution placed highly in the 2010 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization.
Technology positioning will not be enough without showing it in action as part of the overall solution. The recently published Application Velocity CVD and SharePoint 2010 on FlexPod for VMware CVD showcase the different WAAS deployment options in action along with the benefits achieved for various enterprise applications e.g. virtualized SharePoint, IIS, Microsoft Exchange, and Oracle EBS (baremetal) etc.
I am very much interested in hearing your plans around enhancing end user experience, accelerating applications, and reducing WAN bandwidth requirements as you:
- Move your applications to clouds
- Have globally distributed workforce accessing these application remotely
- Plan to implement a remote backup/DR solution