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Important Considerations When Choosing a WAN Optimization Solution

WAN optimization technology is becoming more strategic to application delivery as IT organizations become more dependent on the WAN for delivery of applications and services to remote users. In initial trials many IT organizations deployed this technology to a few key locations to solve bandwidth or latency challenges. The main selection criteria were around the core features such as data compression and application response time improvements. These days IT organizations realize that WAN Optimization is an integral part of an application delivery network and they realize that they need to look beyond the original selection criteria and consider how it fits in their network architecture when planning a network-wide deployment. Let’s take a look at some of the important considerations when choosing a solution for improving application delivery.

Early WAN Optimization solutions delivered applications over tunnels that obscured traffic from reporting and monitoring tools. These days IT organizations need a solution that is transparent to the network and doesn’t interfere with routing architectures and doesn’t interfere with services and security on the network.

Measurement and monitoring of application performance is essential to application delivery and enforcement of service level agreements. Interoperability between the WAN optimization solution and Application Performance Monitoring tools is required to overcome distortion of reporting results introduced by the TCP proxy action performed by the WAN Optimizer.

WAN optimization solutions often accelerate application specific protocols that are engineered by the application vendors. To ensure that these applications can be accelerated safely optimization vendors should partner with the application vendors to license the protocols and jointly test and validate the interoperability of their products as well as cooperate to provide support to customers.

Efficient delivery of latency and bandwidth sensitive applications over the network requires the use of quality of service (QoS) techniques to identify application flows and prioritizing them. Most routers and switches have built-in QoS support, thus enabling organizations to apply a network-based QoS policy. WAN optimization solutions should fully interoperate with network-based QoS.

The transport of voice over IP data networks has been growing rapidly. The economic advantages of using a single network for application data and VoIP are extremely compelling. Since voice traffic is latency sensitive, successful implementation of VoIP requires extensive use of QoS policies throughout the network, Transparent WAN optimization solutions seamlessly integrate with network-based QoS, and therefore are fully interoperable with VoIP.

Network-based delivery of live video and video on demand (VoD) must be performed in a cost-effective way with limited impact on WAN bandwidth. The WAN optimization solution should provide an integrated and automated Video delivery solution for both Live and Video-on-demand content. Video delivery should be done over the existing IP network, avoiding the cost of dedicated content distribution networks.

As WAN optimization has evolved from a tactical deployment to a strategic one improving network utilization and increasing application performance remain important considerations, but not the only ones. We have glanced at just six of the considerations when choosing your WAN optimization solution. To get a detailed look at these six and seven more see this report: Important Considerations When Choosing Your WAN Optimization Solution.

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