think out of the box silver peak

It’s Time to Think Out of the Box about WAN Optimization

think out of the box silver peak“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.” Warren Buffett

I think it’s safe to say most of us know of Warren Buffett. He is the popular business mogul, investor, and philanthropist. In 2011, as Congress struggled to resolve the debt ceiling fight on Capitol Hill, the stock market plummeted and economic growth stalled. Buffett’s quip about resolving the debt ceiling crisis, while humorously sarcastic, shows how even an American icon that is conservative in his approach to business and investing can come up with ideas that are “out-of-the-box.”

There are always tough decisions that, when the final choice is made, can make or break a situation. For example, there is a current debate about the merits of moving from hardware-based WAN optimizers to software-based, virtual WAN optimizers.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to see outside of the box, when hardware walls are blocking your view. And, generally speaking, WAN optimization vendors that developed their products on hardware platforms are late-comers to the virtualization party. They claim a virtual WAN optimizer is great for pre-production, but not for production environments. They reference issues such as performance, stability, ease of deployment and risks associated with using off-the-shelf hardware, rather than purpose-built appliances.

But, that’s not really true. Virtual WAN optimizers have made tremendous gains in the past 12-18 months in real-world production environments for traditional and cloud-based network infrastructures.

So, let’s take a look at some of these “issues.”

Virtual WAN optimizers can perform as well as many physical appliances. Today’s off-the-shelf servers come with powerful CPU cores and memory that are more than capable of supporting 1Gbps throughput when combined with a data center-class virtual WAN optimizer. So, whether you are talking about data reduction, compression, QoS, and latency/loss mitigation, standard hardware should not be a problem.

It is very time-consuming and expensive to upgrade a hardware-based WAN optimizer’s performance. You have to tear out the old device, and replace it with a higher-performance device. This is not the case with a virtual WAN optimizer. If more performance is needed, it’s as easy as upgrading the virtual WAN optimizer software license.

When it comes to deployment, hardware WAN optimization vendors say you can just drop in a box and go – the integration of hardware and software is already built-in. But, again, this doesn’t account for the flexibility that virtual WAN optimizers have, and hardware-based WAN optimizers don’t have. Such as being able to easily move virtual WAN optimizers from one location to another to support big data migration from a primary data center to a secondary site, or, moving a virtual WAN optimizer to support a new branch office.

Virtual WAN optimizers can be deployed on any platform that meets the vendor’s minimum system requirements, such as servers, storage arrays, blades, routers and multi-function devices. A Virtual WAN optimizer can be quickly redeployed based on real-time demands and matched with virtual resources. This can be highly cost-effective and can be dynamically scaled up or down using “pay-as-you-go” licensing to best leverage WAN optimization resources. As part of a completely virtualized data center and network infrastructure, virtual WAN optimizers enable IT personnel to unify the interdependencies between diverse technologies to improve overall performance and provisioning of their systems and applications.

The time has come. Data center and network administrators are climbing out of the box and using cost-effective, highly flexible and scalable virtual WAN optimization solutions that help their networks run fast and reliably.

Image source: Flickr (moominmolly)

About the author
Marc Goodman