black and white tv silver peak

Not Your Father’s WANop

black and white tv silver peak“The over-all point is that new technology will not necessarily replace old technology, but it will date it, by definition. Eventually, it will replace it. But it’s like people who had black-and-white TVs when color came out. They eventually decided whether or not the new technology was worth the investment.” – Steve Jobs

WAN optimization has come a long way baby! Remember back in the day when WAN optimization appliances were all hardware-based, expensive, had limited throughput and were difficult to setup and deploy? Hopefully, you are not still struggling with these products.

Thanks to virtualization, it’s easy to provision high-capacity, high-functionality virtual WAN optimization technologies to support application delivery as well as data replication, backup and migration projects.

Virtual WAN optimizers address network latency, reliability and performance challenges with a unique hardware-independent approach that enables them to be easily and cost-effectively deployed on any platform with the same performance and scalability as dedicated physical appliances.

Virtual WAN optimizers — as opposed to legacy, or hardware-based — WAN optimizers, are bringing business optimization into the equation by offering subscription-based pricing that allows them to be decommissioned at the end of a short-term data migration project, or to remain in place to support ongoing strategic projects like data replication. With this new pricing model, you pay for what you actually use, rather than overpay for more than you need. Now that’s innovation!

Virtual WAN optimizers can be integrated into servers, routers, switches, blades and storage arrays to easily and cost-effectively accelerate and optimize traffic between headquarters and branch offices, and headquarters and disaster recovery sites. They ensure fast access to centralized applications, optimize the backup of remote data, and provide greater reliability to diverse applications to distributed employees, customers and partners.

These solutions significantly reduce the amount of data traversing the WAN to ensure LAN-like application performance, while using network acceleration techniques to overcome WAN latency and safely extend the distance of external networks.

For network integrity, legacy WAN optimization appliances use technologies that rely on aggressive TCP retransmission methods to address packet loss. Unfortunately, these techniques don’t help with time-sensitive applications, like voice and video, because they add additional latency. Another problem with this approach is it only supports TCP traffic, rendering the WAN optimizer ineffective for applications that run over UDP and other protocols.

Newer, more advanced WAN optimizers address dropped and out-of-order packets across the WAN using Forward Error Correction and real-time Packet Order Correction to improve network integrity for all traffic, regardless of the transport protocol. Beyond mitigating the effects of packet loss across the WAN, these newer solutions allow customers to take advantage of MPLS or IP/VPN WAN connections at branch offices at a fraction of the cost of dedicated WANs — without sacrificing quality.

Are hardware-based WAN optimization appliances going to go the way of the black and white television? Take WAN optimization to the next level. Go virtual! It’s a sound investment!

Image source: flickr (King-of-Herrings)

About the author
Marc Goodman