...drives WAN optimisation into the consumer domain. A soft client, after all, could easily be installed and exploited by organisations to provide some relief from intermediate impedances imposed by such implementations.
The vision of infrastructure as a service is a lofty one, and we're only on the first steps of a stairway to cloud that certainly won't be realised for quite some time.
Combining WAN optimisation and acceleration with web application optimisation and acceleration would probably provide an overall benefit to performance regardless of the tiering structure — providing more benefit for those in higher access tiers than those in lower, but benefits nonetheless.
The problem is that these options aren't readily available in cloud-computing environments today. The vision of infrastructure as a service is a lofty one, and we're only on the first steps of a stairway to cloud that certainly won't be realised for quite some time.
Aside from provisioning more resources to address volume and some performance issues caused by heavy load, there's nothing really available from cloud providers today to address the kind of performance impact that could be seen from a tiered-access structure.
Market demands for change
It's often the case that vendors, service providers and manufacturers will not and do not develop or expand offerings unless the market demands they do so.
But it might be that the impact on the bottom line for providers and organisations would be such that cloud-computing providers would be forced to turn into what can realistically be termed infrastructure-as-a-service, with a full line of service-based acceleration and optimisation offerings that allow customers to address performance issues raised by a tiered-access structures.
Or not. After all, if tiered access or traffic discrimination were part of the equation, organisations and providers alike always have the option of pointing out it's not their problem.
Technically they'd be correct. But merely pointing the finger at the guilty party would probably not satisfy customers who would quickly find alternatives that are not impeded by their providers.
Lori MacVittie is responsible for application services education and evangelism at application delivery firm F5 Networks. Her role includes producing technical materials and participating in community-based forums and industry standards organisations. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as in network and systems development and administration.