Aspects such as the convergence of voice, video and data, an upsurge in application size, web-based user interfaces and increasing traffic from current recreational trends – such as MP3 downloads, instant messaging and interactive gaming – have amplified the strain on the network, writes Uwe Brandkamp, networks business unit director at Comztek.
These trends often result in the performance decline of critical business applications and consequently, companies may experience a drop in productivity and even encounter a financial impact. Managing network performance can therefore be quite a challenge.
Most often, companies presented with this problem regard an increase in bandwidth as the solution. However, bandwidth upgrades are expensive and bandwidth gains from compression solutions are not always effective. Without proper management, an increase in available bandwidth does not necessarily enhance the performance of critical applications.
The solution is to achieve greater visibility into the network and application behaviour, in order to more effectively manage network performance through bandwidth allocation and utilisation. Through greater visibility, a company will be able to answer crucial questions such as: Which applications are running on the network? How much of the bandwidth budget is consumed by critical versus recreational traffic? Do the applications meet committed service levels?
Wide-area network (WAN) application optimisation solutions transform data into information thereby enabling a company to adopt a proactive management approach. These solutions indicate precisely which applications traverse the network, what portion of network bandwidth they consume, how well they perform, and where delays originate.
WAN application optimisation solutions enable companies to ensure optimal performance of all essential applications deployed across the business, while minimising the impact of recreational and malicious traffic. Furthermore, the cornerstones of WAN application optimisation enable companies to align network resources with business objectives.
With greater visibility into the network, a business profit may be quickly realised as the company is enabled to utilise resources to its best advantage. Companies may discover applications that are not vital to the business and can be removed, thereby immediately enhancing bandwidth availability. Furthermore, through methodical allocation and utilisation of bandwidth, companies may find they have more bandwidth capacity than required, and reducing this could lead to major financial gains.
WAN optimisation solutions are easy to install and are positioned so that they see all inbound and outbound traffic. They can be deployed comprehensively throughout many or all offices, or a company can adopt a phased deployment strategy by starting with main sites or a few problematic branches first and expanding to other locations from there. Plus, WAN optimisation solutions complement other network appliances such as firewalls, load-balancers, redundant routers, and caching solutions.
Today’s companies require performance, predictability, and consistency from their networks and the applications that traverse them. That is precisely where WAN optimisation solutions deliver.