Just Because You Don’t See It, Doesn’t Mean It’s Not There

iceberg underwater“I think the most difficult thing had been scaling the infrastructure. Trying to support the response we had received from our users and the number of people that were interested in using the software.” Shawn Fanning, Napster Founder

Planning to support data center growth with reliable and sustainable network infrastructure is in some ways like working with an iceberg. What you see above the water line is today’s business – today’s network traffic. Underneath the water is the future business – future network traffic.

From a networking standpoint, the massive part of the iceberg underwater represents the amount of user traffic downloading and using applications. It is also vital for the backup and replication required for disaster recovery sites to protect business assets. Just as difficult as it is to plan for, and navigate around the unseen part of an iceberg, planning and navigating the network technology requirements to support a growing enterprise has its own challenges.

Scalability matters

WAN optimization is a fundamental part of the network infrastructure and requires the ability to massively scale to support growing traffic demands. Bandwidth, latency and loss can significantly impact an IT organization’s ability to effectively scale. To combat this, WANop solutions must be able to support hundreds of thousands of simultaneous user sessions (TCP flows). It sounds logical, but, this is no small matter. And many of the WANop products on the market can’t accomplish this simply because their architectures rely on the underlying operating system to perform TCP re-assembly and re-segmentation operations.

For massive scalability, WANop device throughput requires the ability to support the highest WAN capacity. To support large enterprise deployments, WANop solutions need to deliver Gbps throughput for simultaneously handling data reduction, compression, QoS, and latency/loss mitigation.

To support large storage capacity requirements, WANop solutions that leverage disk-based WAN de-duplication offer superior memory retention and performance over time. Some of these devices can support up to 7 terabytes of data. Of course, I’m thinking of Silver Peak.

Encrypted data over the WAN places added processing demands on WANop devices. WAN optimization solutions that take advantage of state-of-the-art hardware ensure that encryption doesn’t negatively impact scalability and performance.

Large enterprises often have hundreds of applications running over their WANs. WANop solutions that operate at the network layer provide data reduction, compression, and other optimization techniques that support all applications and network protocols. But, be aware, application-level WANop solutions place added demands on the IT organization to support application upgrades that, without re-certification, will not work with the WANop device.

Massive scaling enables massive profits

The obvious upside to a successful enterprise is the financial growth that is so vital for all organizations. For IT departments, it is the ability to effectively plan and execute properly to ensure employees, customers and partners are able to quickly and reliably access the data center and work with all applications. As we all know, it’s easier and more cost-effective to keep customers than it is to acquire new ones. This is where WAN optimization pays major dividends.

It’s been said that growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown. While, there is truth to this, you need not be unprepared when it comes to making sure your WAN connections are capable of supporting the demands of your business. That’s where a WANop solution can help you avoid risk (the part of the iceberg you don’t see) and allow you to prepare for the unknown.