WAN optimization is about improving the performance of business applications over Wide Area Network connections. Given that bandwidth continues to represent a significant proportion of operating expense for wide-area data networks, organizations are motivated to manage this traffic and optimize response times of business critical applications, while reducing recurring costs. While getting a handle on bandwidth cost is a driver in considering this technology, bandwidth cost control should not be the only consideration. Aligning the allocation of WAN resources to business critical needs is also important.

As server and network resources are increasingly centralized, minimizing the effect of latency on application response times is becoming a critical requirement. In addition, new application environments, like browser-based applications and Web services, can put an unforeseen strain on the network and burden any ROI with losses in productivity due to latency issues.

The primary function of WAN Optimization Controllers (WOCs) is to improve the response times of business-critical applications over the WAN. However, they can also help maximize return on the investment in WAN bandwidth and sometimes avoid the need for costly bandwidth upgrades. To achieve these objectives, manufactures use a combination of techniques, examples follow:
  • Compressing WAN traffic, thereby reducing bandwidth requirements.
  • Prioritizing business-critical traffic, through Quality Of Service (QOS) policing and traffic shaping, thus ensuring fair access for mission-critical applications during periods of WAN congestion.
  • Optimization of both protocol and applications can minimize the effects of network latency.
Different types of traffic and IT architecture present both opportunities and difficulties for improving the response times of crucial applications, examples follow:
  • Traffic that isn't time-sensitive, like personal Web access, backups, and in some instances e-mail, can swamp WAN links, leading to slow response times for mission-critical applications.
  • Centralization of branch office servers and data centers can expose latency-sensitive protocols, again leading to slow response times.
  • File transfers, operating system patch distribution and similar applications, such as the delivery of videos, can quickly saturate wide area links.
  • Recurring transmission of the same, or similar, files, or data patterns are opportunities for data compression algorithms.
Since optimizing overall application response times is a requirement for many organizations, NLE has allied itself with the top manufactures of WOC products. Regardless of the type of traffic or applications running, NLE brings a solution. Contact NLE today to discuss the right product for your organization, and arrange for a demonstration.
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