Part of the challenge in optimizing applications is knowing where to begin. Lori MacVittie would like to have us believe that the right approach is to deploy a holistic application delivery solution to address the entire problem. As I point out here, such an approach demonstrates a misunderstanding of the value of WAN optimization is naïve for many of today's organizations.
Here's another issue to consider. As vendors attempt to build solutions across multiple product areas it often comes at the expense of product functionality and competitiveness. They lose focus, unable to innovate as quickly as more targeted competitors. In the worst cases, they rely on customer lock-in to generate revenue while eschewing real product innovation.
Take Cisco, for example. For the longest time, Cisco pundits argued that the company's holistic approach to delivering networking equipment lowered Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and improved overall functionality of the network. Presumably, this was because of the greater integration that could be delivered amongst products in the solution set.
But Gartner debunked the myth of a single vendor network last year where it noted such approaches often lead to
- Vendor complacency where over time, vendors can take customers for granted , and he level of attention and service can drop off.
- Less competitive pricing - vendors and their customers will rely on long-standing relationship, and possibly older contacts, to end up with noncompetitive pricing.
- Single-vendor focused element management tools encourage lock-in and limit alternatives.
All of those same risks apply to a holistic application delivery solution. Purchase your load balancer, WAN optimizer, security gateway and more from one vendor, buy into their closed integrations and "holistic" architectures, and over time you'll find yourself once again in the same vicious cycle of vendor lock-in. What's more you'll spend an inordinate amount of time conducting your holistic application analysis and putting into place all the equipment that's needed for that analysis.
The alternative? Take a few hours, deploy a free WAN optimizer from here, and see if it solves most of your application's problems. You may find that you'll still need to rearchitect your applications, but at least then you'll be able to justify that investment to your management.