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Using WAN optimization controllers for application delivery: An introduction

Achieving acceptable application delivery performance has become a priority for wide area network (WAN) managers.

This introduction to application delivery explains early app delivery factors that drove the initial deployment of wide area network (WAN) optimization controllers and how application challenges and solutions will continue to drive WAN optimization controller implementation in enterprise networks.

Introduction to application delivery

While ensuring acceptable application delivery has always been important to wide area network (WAN) managers, it was historically not a top-of-mind issue for most IT organizations. That changed a few years ago when IT organizations began to systematically place more emphasis on ensuring acceptable application delivery. Throughout this report, the first generation of application delivery challenges and solutions that IT organizations began to focus on a few years ago will be referred to as Application Delivery 1.0.

Application delivery resources
Understanding application delivery optimization and the end user element

New WAN optimization solutions need application visibility, control

Collaborate with programmers to deliver WAN application acceleration

As discussed in The 2009 Application Delivery Handbook, the primary components of application delivery are as follows:

  • Planning
  • Optimization
  • Management
  • Control

One of the major ways that IT organizations optimize the performance of applications is through the deployment of WAN optimization controllers (WOCs). As detailed in The 2009 Application Delivery Handbook, some of the Application-Delivery-1.0-related factors that drove the initial deployment of WOCs are as follows:

  • Data center consolidation of some servers out of branch offices and into centralized data centers.
  • Deployment of inefficient protocols such as TCP.
  • Distribution of employees out of headquarters facilities.
  • Implementation of disaster recovery and backup capabilities.
  • Deployment of chatty protocols such as the Common Internet File System (CIFS).
  • Webification of applications.
  • Deployment of delay-sensitive applications such as voice over IP (VoIP).
  • Growing reliance on a small number of key applications, such as SAP.

The factors listed above will continue to drive IT organizations to implement WOCs that contain the functionality highlighted in this WAN optimization controller comparison guide. However, as will be detailed in this report, a new generation of challenges is both increasing the importance of some of the functionality that exists in the current generation of WOCs and creating the requirement for new WOC functionality.

Continue reading this guide to learn how WAN optimization controllers are used in Application Delivery 2.0:

Jim Metzler
Jim Metzler

About the author:
Dr. Jim Metzler, principal at Ashton Metzler and Associates, is a widely recognized authority on network technology and its business applications. In more than 28 years of experience, Jim has helped numerous vendors refine product and service strategies and has helped enterprises evolve network infrastructures. He has directed and conducted market research at a major industry analyst firm and run a consulting firm. Jim holds a Ph.D. in numerical analysis from Boston University. He is co-author of the book Layer 3 Switching: A Guide for IT Professionals (Prentice Hall).

This was last published in June 2010

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