While the lines between internal and external networks are blurring, how companies are architecting their corporate WANs to accommodate all these changes aren’t. Analyst Zeus Kerravala, ZK Research, says if companies are going to start leveraging the network, then the way they view their WAN, and their WAN optimization, must change as well.
Kerravala points to a number of forces driving the evolution of the WAN and the need for next-generation WAN optimization:
- Enterprise video is getting easier and cheaper to use but it consumes bandwidth like no other application
- Cloud computing extends the corporate WAN beyond the corporate walls, but the IT department is still responsible for keeping everybody happy
- Mobility is transforming the enterprise, extending the WAN past its historical boundaries, as users demand any time, any place information access, and
- Desktop virtualization and VDI are finally starting to gain some traction, but WAN performance is critical to ensure the user experience is at least comparable to traditional desktops.
One of the biggest problems emerging from this network evolution is what WANop vendor Blue Coat calls the ‘selfish application.’ Some Internet apps are chatty, some are optimized, some are bursty, and others are constant network bandwidth users. Some are critical to the company, and others less so.
A selfish application is any app that from time to time downloads a lot of data and does it as fast as it can – regardless of the needs of other apps on the network. With data sets getting bigger, and the number of users growing daily, if you aren’t managing your WAN bandwidth, now would be a good time to start.
Kerravala offers the following requirements for next-gen WAN optimization: network visibility tools, network traffic security, and performance solutions that include video, static content, cloud, and Web and other real and non-real-time applications. By moving from a tactical to a strategic approach, selfish apps can be put in their place and networks can continue to meet their current and new demands.