According to new data from AMI, Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) are rapidly moving to the cloud to meet storage, infrastructure, security, software application, and collaborative communication needs. The emergence of these lower-cost alternatives to owning, housing, and managing the hardware and software on-premise, coupled with the diversifying role of LANs and WANs — including receiving hosted services, transferring secure data, and maintaining mobile/multi-site connectivity — has led to a rapidly increasing bandwidth demand.
Increasingly, WAN Optimization and Application Acceleration play a critical role in helping to better manage the costs and complexity of their WAN networks. “WAN Optimization is generally very affordable, easy to implement, and can achieve huge cost savings from infrastructure consolidation, bandwidth reduction, and faster/more effective applications — typical return on investment occurs in less than 6 months”, notes Andrew Kirk, AMI associate.
Having stated that size doesn’t matter, this doesn’t mean that all WANOp solutions — and their benefits — are created equal. WAN accelerators are great in some situations and unhelpful, at best, in others. The reality is that the right solution and the right application matter, and it typically depends on what kind of traffic you’re trying to optimize. In cases where you have bulky or repetitive (or ideally both) data flows, WAN accelerators can provide a huge benefit and save you a lot of money. But where you don’t have the right kinds of data flows or the appliance you choose isn’t optimized to handle that particular kind of data, you may not derive much benefit at all.
As with most prospective big-ticket acquisitions, trying before buying is recommended. Most vendors will allow you to test drive an appliance (virtual or physical) on the data you want to optimize to see how it really performs on your network.
According to another new report, the accelerated adoption of virtual appliances in production networks and cloud environments, especially WAN Optimization, is expected to drive the total Data Center Appliance market to $4.0 billion in 2017, a CAGR of just under 10%. “Virtual appliances are a nascent and fast-changing market,” said Casey Quillin, Senior Analyst of Data Center Appliance Market Research at Dell’Oro Group. “We foresee higher-end, higher-priced products that make networks smarter becoming more prevalent. Cloud applications are a perfect example of this.”
So regardless of the size of your organization, or whether you choose to go physical, virtual or a combination of the two, it appears that WAN Optimization will play a bigger role in your network going forward.