Is Wan Optimization the Future of Data Centers?

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WAN, wide-area networks, may have not been prioritized in the past but more and more data center managers are closely looking at WANs as the future of data centers.  WAN optimization involves a series of techniques such as data duplication, traffic shaping, data caching, compression, network monitoring, and more in an effort to speed interconnectivity. TechTarget explains the importance of focusing on WAN moving forward, “A data center interconnect has historically replicated data from a primary data center to a disaster recovery site or backup data center. However, virtualization and cloud computing are transforming the role of a data center inter-connect, and wide area network (WAN) managers must adjust their approach to these increasingly critical WAN links… WAN managers need to understand the changing environment within data centers and prepare for an increased demand on the WAN links that interconnect multiple data centers… WAN optimization makes transfer protocols more efficient and reduces the volume of traffic through compression and deduplication.”

Every data center needs a WAN in place that is strategic and unique, carefully configured to meet the data center’s specific needs.  As remote access needs and national capability needs increase connectivity and speed demands shift and become more and more important.  When WAN is executed properly, bandwidth limitations are mitigated and access to applications improved.  We have previously discussed the shift towards data center consolidation in an effort to improve efficiency while lowering the costs of overhead and personnel while optimizing infrastructure and securing physical assets but data center consolidation means consolidating IT infrastructure as well.  With so many data centers consolidating IT infrastructure there are fewer small data centers which means further distance between the end-user and the data center and that can mean poor application performance from latency and network congestion.  With fewer but larger servers, traffic is increased and WAN optimization becomes all-the-more important.   Data center consolidation can move forward effectively through WAN optimization.  WAN optimization will only continue to grow in importance moving forward, as Data Center Knowledge notes, “This means that while the CIO is trying to exercise tighter control over the corporate wide-area network (WAN), users are expecting looser controls and the ability to access anything, anywhere, anytime with scant regard for security or the impact on network performance. Look into the usage logs of most corporations today and you will find hours spent on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, for example.This usage is expensive. The study further concluded that social media networks could potentially be costing Britain up to $22.16 billion.The solution CIOs desire is a fully integrated single platform that delivers complete WAN optimization capabilities, the insight to allow management to keep its eye on exactly what traffic is traversing the network, and the flexibility to dynamically optimize it when and if required.”

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