As organizations look to improve operations through centralized control, they often need to take into account what would happen if an area of the network fails. In many cases, having a centralized controller-based wireless architecture in organizations with multiple branch offices has prompted the question, “What happens if the WAN is slow, or even worse, goes down?”
Many organizations have been reluctant to implement a centralized wireless controller located in the data center or private cloud due to this concern. Without centralized control, these organizations have two deployment strategies available to them:
Implement wireless controllers at each branch site. This approach is perfectly fine for an organization with many Access Points per branch, or those that require high throughput for applications such as Video. However, many branches only require a few Access Points per location or require simple applications such as bar-code scanning and printing. For these organizations, local controllers become less cost effective, with the capital expense becoming prohibitive.
Implement access points running in autonomous mode. This approach eliminates the benefits of having any kind of centralized control such as the ability to centrally configure wireless policy and security setting on access points, WIPS capabilities and advanced mobility services like CleanAir, leaving the branch vulnerable and opening the corporate network to attacks.
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.
Two major global trends are driving these significant increases: a continued surge in mobile-ready devices such as tablets and smart phones, and widespread mobile video content consumption.
The Cisco study estimates that by 2015, there will be a mobile connected device for nearly every member of the world’s population.
So what does this mean? Well, for one thing, it’s a harbinger that it’s time to get our WAN architectures ready for the flood of video traffic. What happens when you don’t? Aside from the obvious—you deliver a frustrating and dissatisfying media experience—you also put other network applications at risk of going down.
If that’s not enough to spur you to take another look at your WAN, consider my top five predictions for what this tsunami of video traffic might lead to from a cultural trending perspective:
“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”
- William Blake.
Looking back, the first decade of this millennium could ultimately be viewed as an age of excess. From securities, SUV’s and PDA’s to business travel, there was arguably too much focus on quantity and not enough on quality. This “more is better” attitude was also visible in the world of I.T. – particularly when it came to branch offices. But that’s all changing now.
I.T. people know all too well how many services are required to run remote sites in a growing business: routing, switching, applications, security, voice, mobility, and more recently, virtualization and video. During the “go-go years” from 2000-2008, some just kept deploying more and more dedicated appliances in more locations to deliver ever more functionality to try to keep their companies’ top lines growing faster than their competitors.