According to Gartner, WAN optimization is about improving the performance of business applications over WAN connections. Most networks carry a variety of types of traffic, of differing characteristics and importance. Many organizations are striving to manage this traffic to optimize the response times of critical applications and reduce costs, given that bandwidth continues to represent a significant proportion of operating expenditure for wide-area data networks.
The primary function of a Web Optimization Controller (WOC) is to improve the response times of business-critical applications over WAN links, but they can also help to maximize return on the investment in WAN bandwidth, and sometimes avoid the need for costly bandwidth upgrades. To achieve these objectives, WOCs use a combination of techniques, including:
- Ensuring fair access for mission-critical applications during periods of congestion by prioritizing business critical traffic, through QoS policing and traffic shaping, for example
- Minimizing the effects of network latency using methods like protocol- and application-specific optimization
- Reducing the bandwidth required to transfer WAN traffic by compressing it, for example.
Click here to read more from Gartner about the WAN optimization market.
The WOC market is maturing rapidly, but it is still dynamic with a high level of vendor innovation.This has led to different vendors offering different combinations of features. In order to ensure that the most effective solution is put in place, providing the best overall return on investment, a detailed analysis should first be undertaken. This will establish:
- The real bandwidth you are achieving
- The real usage of that bandwidth
- Applications and services running on your network and the protocols they use
Also conduct a detailed analysis of your network traffic to identify specific problems, for example, excessive latency, bandwidth over subscription or lack of prioritization for certain types of traffic.
By Annabelle Ross