Cloud & Telecoms
Virtually Clearing Cloud Initiatives Through WAN Optimization
By taking a network-centric approach, organizations achieve maximum scalability and flexibility
By: David Hughes
Jan. 23, 2012 07:30 AM
There is a storm rising in the midst of enterprise networks today. It builds quickly and overtakes unsuspecting companies as the popularity of virtual initiatives causes data volumes on their networks to swell to proportions too large to access efficiently over existing bandwidth. The challenge then becomes one of optimizing underlying network infrastructure in order to support the increased flow of traffic caused by the data surge.
Application virtualization, cloud computing and Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDIs) deliver enormous management and costs savings, but these benefits are offset when application performance hampers end user productivity. This often happens when virtual applications and desktops are delivered across a Wide Area Network (WAN). Optimizing the WAN and improving network stability is therefore paramount to ensuring companies meet their business objectives and take full advantage of the technology in which they have invested large amounts of money.
The same can be said for end-user applications. Voice, video, file, email and VDIs are all sensitive to bandwidth, distance and network quality, which often lead to poor application performance in remote locations. To accommodate growing data volumes and an ever-increasing need for real-time WAN performance, the average large company upgrades WAN bandwidth approximately every two years. Upgrading bandwidth, however, is both time-consuming and costly, and does not always address application delivery woes brought on by latency, packet loss and other common issues.
For instance, in MPLS, IP VPN and cloud environments, packet delivery issues can increase as throughput increases, which places even more demand on network resources. It's common to see networks with an average packet loss of 0.5 percent reach peaks of five percent, no matter how much bandwidth is available. These issues can lead to excessive re-transmissions, which limits the effective throughput of data transfers across the WAN.
Continuing under the illusion that throwing additional bandwidth at the problem only complicates matters. Instead, enterprises must grasp the importance of tackling the underlying network infrastructure challenges that hamper key business applications.
Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
To accommodate the increasing volumes of data, organizations can deploy large WAN links between data centers, which are able to handle hundreds of megabytes or terabytes of data. However, given the price of WAN bandwidth, this can become an extremely expensive component, which rarely solves the true underlying performance problems.
Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Costs
With some business applications costing close to $10,000 per user to deploy, enterprises find themselves spending considerable portions of their IT budgets rolling them out. It's common for IT managers to spend a third of their total project investments on upgrades to IT infrastructure in order to support such new applications. Comparatively, a network investment often costs less than one percent of the total cost of deploying a single enterprise application. As a result, WAN optimization provides a rapid return on investment with the added benefit of increased end-user satisfaction.
WAN optimization not only addresses the latency, packet loss and bandwidth challenges that cause virtual applications and VDI to be unresponsive and/or unreliable across the WAN, but it also provides real-time optimization techniques that maximize WAN performance - a fundamental aspect of any successful cloud initiative.
By taking a network-centric approach, organizations achieve maximum scalability and the flexibility needed to support all current and emerging applications on the network, and in so doing clear the vulnerability gap that seriously compromises business continuity plans.
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