With the recent news about Juniper and Riverbed I thought I'd write about the value of WAN Optimization for the Data Center. Application performance in the data center and out to remote locations is a top concern for business organizations. WAN Optimization is a technology that is critical to ensuring application performance out to end users in remote locations. In this post I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the value of WAN Optimization for data center and cloud use cases.
What WAN Optimization Does
WAN Optimization is deployed on either end of a WAN link in both remote offices and the data center next to the WAN side router. Coupling intelligent application-layer acceleration with advanced compression and flow optimization capabilities, WAN Optimization mitigates the latency and bandwidth limitations of the WAN to provide remote users with access to applications in the data center.
The Changing IT Environment
IT departments have been undertaking initiatives to meet their business objectives to reduce costs and consolidate resources. WAN optimization offers a solution to help them to reach their goals. Here is a look at some of the initiatives where WAN optimization is critical.
Data Center Consolidation
To optimize infrastructure, secure physical assets, and reduce costs of operation, IT departments are consolidating their IT infrastructure. Many organizations are consolidating from regional data centers to centralized data centers, often with a backup data center. These typically large data centers are deploying state-of-the-art servers that use virtualization in increase IT agility.
As a consequence of these data center consolidation initiatives, users who were close to a regional data center now find themselves distant. The result is that the users often experience poor application performance due to latency and congestion over the network.
Branch-Office Server Consolidation
Organizations are consolidating servers from remote branch offices to central data centers to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The benefits of branch-office server consolidation include reduced server and server administration costs due to fewer, larger, virtualized servers, reduced compliance risk through centralized storage of data, and simplified backup and disaster recovery.
Moving applications and servers to the data center presents new challenges, as this increases traffic across the WAN. Adding to the challenge, some applications use protocols, such as Microsoft CIFS, that were designed for the LAN and do not operate efficiently over the WAN. So, application performance over the WAN is degraded.
Scaling for Virtualized Desktops
Organizations that are moving to virtualized desktops need to be able to host large numbers of desktop images. When desktop virtualization solutions are deployed over the WAN, latency and bandwidth constraints limit their effectiveness and limit the number of sessions that can be delivered. As a result, end users face performance challenges that affect their productivity.
What is needed is a solution that can optimize the performance of VMware View and other desktop virtualization solutions to increase the number of concurrent clients while reducing WAN bandwidth requirements and helping ensure performance for end users.
Mobility for Virtual Servers
For organizations that are deploying large numbers of virtualized servers, if a server failure or data center outage occurs, server resources and application images must be moved between data centers. This process can negatively affect applications and be a burden on the WAN due to limited bandwidth and distance.
A suitable solution is needed to optimize the movement of virtual server images from one data center to a server in another and provide high performance over long distances, even while the traffic across the WAN is subject to latency, bandwidth, and protocol limitations.
Performance for Cloud Computing
Adoption of cloud architectures requires enterprise IT departments to move resources such as applications, compute, and storage to the public or private cloud. As enterprises make these changes, compute resources may be migrated to a private cloud hosted in corporate or outsourced data centers, and some organizations may use public clouds directly.
In either architecture, application delivery to remote users in branch offices requires more WAN hops than with prior application delivery designs. Thus, traditional problems of WAN latency, packet loss, and bandwidth limitations for centralized application delivery continue to exist and may even be magnified.
The Benefits of WAN Optimization
WAN Optimization allows IT departments to confidently consolidate servers, storage, and data protection infrastructure into the data center without compromising the performance expectations that remote users have, based on years of relying on local infrastructure. With infrastructure consolidated, organizations can centrally deploy new applications for the global organization and meet their goals to reduce the overhead and costs of managing their application infrastructure.
Expect to see more coming from Juniper in this area of application performance management in the data center.