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See, control, accelerate???????

Article Type: Feature          Published: 07-2012         Views: 2185   



Adam Davison of Exinda claims that WAN optimisation is the only way to truly future proof a network.

The world is a fast moving place. No sooner have you got yourself sorted to deal with the way things have changed, when a whole new raft of challenges and developments arrive to make you realise you were never really sorted in the first place.

With regards to IT networks, a fundamental driver for change is the rapid evolution of the Internet and new, usually unforeseen applications which quickly come to dominate the way people act online, and because massive subscription and high bandwidth demands can weigh down a network in a surprisingly short time. Who could have predicted that something as fundamentally frivolous as Facebook could, in less than a decade, command the regular attention of nearly one-in-seven of the world's population?

The latest trends, again largely unpredictable, are for new ways of working such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). All it took was for Apple to launch the innovative iPad for laptops to become more affordable, and for smartphones to become seriously more capable, and all of a sudden network managers are presented with a new and unprecedented management challenge as the traditional boundaries between the work and personal sphere are challenged and crumble. Ten years ago, when Facebook launched, the very concept of BYOD had yet to be formed.

When you factor in other new emerging trends such as cloud computing, VoIP, or SaaS etc, all of which are very recent developments, it becomes obvious that, in such a rapidly evolving, dynamic and unpredictable environment, the pursuit of future proofing is perhaps optimistic at best. How can anyone honestly claim to achieve future proofing of a network when recent history shows us the degree to which the future is an unknown?

Realistically, if there is one lesson to be learned it is that demands on bandwidth will in all likelihood continue to increase. However, bandwidth is an expensive commodity. So why invest heavily on a fourth lane for the motorway when better traffic management could deliver the same benefits?

Next-generation WAN optimisation and application performance assurance solutions allow organisations to see, control, accelerate and optimise traffic on the network. By enabling network managers to see every application that is traversing the network, who the users are, and how much bandwidth is being consumed, trends and issues can be quickly identified and policies can be applied to control, accelerate or optimise the users and their applications.

This 360o approach to network management that we call Unified Performance Management allows network managers to make smarter decisions. It allows them to extract maximum value and service from their existing infrastructures, take full advantage of new technologies, control operating costs and improve the user experience.

WAN optimisation is not a new idea. However, this next-gen approach which gives total visibility and granular performance management allows the network to be more tightly optimised for a particular organisation's requirements - business alignment. Critical applications can be given priority, bottlenecks can be avoided, and essential business functions and applications can be protected.

Ultimately, as well as better network performance for the organisation, this new unified approach to performance management delivers increased capability so that managers are prepared to deal with developments which will impact on the network tomorrow, even those yet-to-emerge applications which none of us are able to predict and which might be lurking just around the corner.

With regards to business IT networks, the only real future proofing which can be achieved is to make sure the highway runs smoothly, and that the network isn't unnecessarily stretched to capacity. As long as the network has room for tomorrow's applications when they arrive, that's the best that can be hoped for. NC

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