Networking

Consider WAN optimization controllers, Gartner says

WAN optimization ranks among four technologies that research firm Gartner says have not been widely adopted in the midmarket – but are worth considering.

While each of the four technologies has reached a level of maturity and affordability that makes them good investments for midsize businesses, they all “have suffered from a lack of awareness and understanding by midsize businesses over the past year,” according to a research brief written by Gartner analysts James Browning and Dave Russell.

The four technologies highlighted in the new research are: WAN optimization, spurred by the trend to centralize servers and deploy Web-enabled applications; data de-duplication, which can reduce disk space used for backup purposes; network access control (NAC), to secure guest network services and ensure PCs are properly patched; and security information and event management (SIEM), which can help businesses not only address compliance requirements but also improve security monitoring and attack responsiveness.

Since this newsletter is focused on network optimization, I’ll zero in on some of the drivers for WAN optimization controllers (WOC). Specifically, Gartner says that deploying WOC appliances can help companies that are struggling with application performance after having deployed new Web-based applications or consolidated their servers. In addition, WOCs can reduce the cost of WAN bandwidth, according to Browning and Russell.

The pair lists three benefits of WOCs: The flexibility to defer bandwidth upgrades, which is especially important in regions where the cost of bandwidth is high; the ability to prevent latency from affecting the performance of centralized and Web-based applications; and the ability to increase the effective bandwidth of WAN links by as much as 75%.

To date, Gartner estimates that only about 20% of midmarket companies have deployed WOCs.

“Consider WOC appliances if your company has recently deployed new Web-based applications or has consolidated servers. These technologies tax the network. WOCs can remedy this increased network load and maintain or improve application performance and facilitate centralized computing,” Browning and Russell wrote in the report. “Midsize businesses should also consider WOCs as an alternative to bandwidth upgrades as a cost-saving initiative.”

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