In their Q4 2009 WAVE report Forrester recognized Cisco WAAS as a market leader in WAN optimization in their comparison of the top 8 vendors, considering criteria such as the offering, strategy, market presence, and technology.
Forrester says that WAN optimization is increasing in importance to IT organizations and that business issues such as consolidating branch office servers and rolling out new collaborative applications are driving its adoption. This is because companies rely on the WAN for delivery of their business-critical services, but the WAN suffers from poor performance because of latency over distance.
Forrester advises that WAN optimization technology plays a critical role in improving application performance by using techniques such as caching, protocol optimization, compression, traffic management and quality of service (QoS), to increase effective throughput and mitigate latency, while providing visibility into the traffic mix.
In evaluating Cisco WAAS Forrester calls out Cisco’s range of products, that includes appliances as well as router blades, and a mobile client solution that is certified by Microsoft for interoperability. An innovation that Forrester calls out is the ability to virtualize Microsoft servers on the WAAS appliances: which increases IT agility while lowering costs in the branch office.
On the technology side, Forrester commented that Cisco offers a strong suite of optimization techniques across caching, traffic management, and protocol optimization, including application-specific optimizations, and that Cisco WAAS excels in its approach to security: WAAS can optimize SSL encrypted traffic without compromising control of authentication. Interoperability testing and validation with the VMware View VDI platform was also called out. See this link for details: Cisco and VMware.
While acknowledging that Cisco offers comprehensive solutions for both the midmarket and the data center Forrester calls out the data center offering in terms of the scale, redundancy, and data-intense traffic optimization that it can provide, recognizing that many key business processes, from backup and replication, to ensuring high availability of data stores, are critical to large organizations: Cisco WAAS, has a unique scaling advantage as it can cluster devices. Next to scalability, reliability was mentioned, including features such as software watchdogs, RAID, and stateful process restartability.
This acknowledgement of Cisco’s leadership for WAN Optimization in the WAVE report comes after Forrester acknowledged the strong ROI of the WAAS solution in “The Total Economic Impact™ of Cisco Wide Area Application Services.”
In conclusion Forrester acknowledges that Cisco has invested heavily in WAAS technology, which they call critical to a cohesive network offering, and they acknowledge Cisco’s technology partnerships and managed services partnerships, as well as a wide range of channel partners and the largest, most globally diverse services organization among the vendors in the analysis. See this link for an excerpt of the Forrester WAVE report.