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SN blogs: Vendors focusing on SD WAN, but WAN optimization still key

SN blogs: This week, an analyst urged vendors to keep focus on WAN optimization; the rise of big data analytics is forcing firms to see what's next.

Enterprise Management Associates analyst, Tracy Corbo, said that even though some vendors have switched from WAN optimization to focus on SDN, the onset of enterprise cloud adoption has highlighted the need to continue developing WAN optimization initiatives in order to maintain visibility and control. She said some WAN optimization vendors might have been feeling the pressure from investors to keep increasing their sales, which encouraged them to make the switch to software-defined (SD) WAN. But, Corbo noted that it's still important to focus on fundamental WAN optimization because the cloud is not the fix-all solution that some people may think. Corbo said that every time data has to travel a farther distance, it takes longer for it to do so. This, she said, is why WAN optimization is so important for cloud deployments as data is moved from the desktop and into the cloud. It's critical for enterprises to maintain visibility and control, but according to one EMA report, "Managing Networks in the Age of Cloud, SDN, and Big Data: Network Management Megatrends 2014," 75% of companies who had moved applications and services into the cloud reported difficulty with monitoring and troubleshooting their cloud deployment.

Read more about why Corbo said WAN optimization is still important to the enterprise.

Big data analytics creating a new era of IT strategy

It's still important to focus on fundamental WAN optimization because the cloud is not the fix-all solution that some people may think.
Tracy Corboanalyst, Enterprise Management Associates

Jeremiah Caron, an analyst at Current Analysis, said that the increased interest in big data analytics initiatives comes from both curiosity about future implications and a desire to maintain a competitive edge. Big data analytics, he said, is not a new concept, but being able to analyze huge amounts of data and receive insight and business recommendations from a piece of software takes the process a step further. Because big data analytics is so new, there is room for innovation and competitive differentiation. According to a Current Analysis Enterprise Investment Plans study, only 20% of enterprises are actively deploying big data analytics initiatives, but 59% plan to roll out a strategy within the next 12 months. Caron said this indecisiveness could mean companies either have a differentiated position in mind or they are taking a defensive approach and are waiting to see what other companies are planning.

Read more about why Caron said big data analytics is exciting for IT strategy.

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Data encryption can protect company data, unless used by cybercriminals

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst, Jon Oltsik, said ESG research shows that 87% of enterprise organizations are encrypting at least 25% of their traffic. While traffic encryption can protect company data, it can also be used by cybercriminals as a way to disguise malware engineered to worm its way into a company's data system. To avoid this threat, many companies are encrypting and then decrypting data to check their Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Service traffic for signs of an infection. Oltsik said this technique is helpful, but it is time-consuming; encryption and decryption is not an easy job, and there is a host of problems that could occur in the process.

Read more about ESG research that shows more enterprises are encrypting and inspecting data traffic.

Using rate-limiting to free up bandwidth on a saturated WAN link

Packet Pushers blogger, Korey Rebello, demonstrates what to do when you come across a saturated wide area network (WAN) link. In some instances, you might have to decide whether to get rid of some of the traffic to free up some bandwidth. Rebello recommended using a rate-limitation technique. He began by using Netflow to help spot where excess traffic was being stored and then configured a rate-limiting command on that interface. He provided diagrams to give visual examples of his process. Overall, he was able to free up about half of the circuit's bandwidth.

Review the diagram of Rebello's rate-limiting process to free up bandwidth on a saturated WAN link.

This was last published in February 2015

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Do you think vendors are focusing less on WAN optimization; more on SD WAN?
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There is a portion of vendors who are switching their focus from WAN optimization to SDN. However, it is still important to focus on WAN optimization initiatives as the work in hand with the emerging enterprise cloud services coming into the market. These cloud services have not been categorized as fix-all solutions because they still require proper WAN to work properly. It is of essence for enterprises to maintain visibility and control for cloud deployments.
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There's no question that SD-WAN is the WAN of the future. I'd like to see more of the young vendors in the space incorporate optimization techniques like compression and dedup as a part of their offering. Doing this in the mid-mile via PoPs would be an ideal solution.
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I find network articles without diagrams parctically impossible to understand,
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