I love enchiladas. The tasty tortilla surrounding the spicy filling and the rich sauce… It just wouldn’t be an enchilada if you took out either the tortilla or the sauce. Every bite has to include all of those great elements. If any are missing, well, it’s just not the complete experience. We can quibble about preferences such as cheese, chicken, or beef but I hope we can agree that the only good enchilada is a “whole” enchilada.
There are some people who assert that the need for WAN optimization solutions is unnecessary. They claim that to improve application performance the applications and servers within the data center need to be offloaded and accelerated while optimizing traffic traveling over the network infrastructure is of less importance.
While it is true that offloading and accelerating applications and servers is an integral part of improving application delivery, by not addressing the network only half of the problems associated with application delivery are being solved.
It would be just as inaccurate to claim WAN optimization is the be-all, end-all solution for application delivery. This is certainly not the case. Application delivery involves many parts, such as the applications themselves, servers, databases, storage systems, networks and the application delivery controllers (ADCs) and WAN optimizers that manage the traffic going to these systems.
When the applications leave the data center and travel across public and shared networks, the delivery of the applications can be adversely affected by packet loss, latency, excessive data, too much user traffic, bandwidth-consuming applications, and long distances. These elements can limit network throughput, consume bandwidth, and cause packets to be lost and dropped, making application delivery slow and unreliable.
Application performance can’t just be about dealing with the applications. Otherwise, how do you explain slow data downloads, dropped phone calls, pixelated videos, and slow VDI screen refreshes when these applications go over external networks? Yes, these applications are a cause of these problems because they were not developed to deal with network problems, but that’s where WAN optimizers come in: they address these problems.
Another factor that is network-based, and not application specific, is during replication and migration of data between data centers. When network performance becomes a problem, data throughput becomes adversely affected and can exceed the maximum tolerable time period, causing data to be lost. WAN optimizers deal with these problems by addressing key areas such as underutilized bandwidth, latency, and packet loss.
Whether you’re delivering applications to remote and mobile users, transferring to branch offices, or you’re backing up and replicating data to a disaster recovery site, if your applications need to be delivered quickly and reliably, you need comprehensive solutions — solutions which address systems and equipment within the data center, and the network infrastructure itself. You need the whole enchilada.
Viva La WAN optimization!
Image credit: SweetOnVeg (flickr)