The Rise of WAN Optimization Part II

The Rise of WAN Optimization Part II

Summary: 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.

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TOPICS: Networking, Banking
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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.

Topics: Networking, Banking

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3 comments
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  • Riverbed Steelhead

    Enough said.

    What Lori partially addresses is that network performance is not determined by two factors - latency and bandwidth, but by the 3rd - protocol flow control. You can have big pipes and next to zero distance. But if you have a chatty applications, like Linux machines using legacy SMB protocols to talk to Windows servers you need to optimize *that* as well.

    And, that is the central value of a WAN optimizing appliance - precaching of frequently used data and bundling of protocol flow control traffic. Unfortunately for Lori, F5 does not have the best offering in the space.
    Your Non Advocate
  • RE: The Rise of WAN Optimization Part II

    David,

    Your thoughts regarding the single-vendor network are interesting but not really germane to the blog post you referenced. The post you reference is clear in its focus on identifying the actual cause of poor performance and addressing it. After all, if a performance issue is at the application layer it rarely helps to optimize the network.

    F5 offers solutions that address all common areas of application performance - including WAN optimization - both as stand-alone offerings and as a unified, integrated solution, but nowhere in the aforementioned blog post is it stated or suggested that a holistic approach can only be achieved via a single-vendor's solutions, which appears to be your premise. It is the application of the right acceleration and/or optimization technique to the right problem that was the point of the post. If that solution is single-vendor, that is a decision for the customer, as is a multi-vendor solution, as long as both comprise a complete application performance solution stack.

    Lori
    l.macvittie@...
  • As a service?

    Well, alternatives do exist to this approach. WAN Optimization is not a difficult concept to utilize and understand any more with the advent of WAN Optimization as a Service. With no capex expenses and a free trial availability, companies that are currently not utilizing WAN optimization can see the benefits their WAN networks can derive from the capability. Companies such as Aryaka provide services that allow you to explore the advantages WAN optimization can bring to you without having to invest in the appliances that you would have to with traditional WAN Optimization solutions.
    WAN Optimization can significantly enhance operations for organizations that operate with globally distributed options. While cost was traditionally a deterrent, it is an option companies should explore for sure at this point in time.
    abhishekrvrksharma