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Is WAN Virtualization a Necessity?

By CIOReview | Friday, March 17, 2017

With networking being an integral aspect of every organization, to manage the huge and sophisticated network connections, the concept of virtualization is being implemented. Wide Area Network (WAN) Virtualization revolutionizes the economics of wide area networking especially for SMEs by making it affordable to implement high bandwidth applications such as VoIP, video conferencing, and virtual desktop infrastructures. A professionally designed WAN virtualization utilizes end-to-end algorithms to dynamically respond to link failures and congestion issues in real-time.

Virtualization of WAN enables network administrators to manage and utilize multiple WAN connections or existing private WANs. It also allows connections such as MPLS to augment or replace individual private connections. Virtualization combines multiple WAN connections wrapped with a layer of software and hardware for delivering higher bandwidth as well as reliable connectivity. WAN virtualization applies a Redundant Array of Independent Disk (RAID) like strategy for solving the issues related with reliability and predictability within a shared IP network. It does real-time traffic engineering, reacting sub-second to network failures as well as for link failures that are caused by congestion.

An intelligent WAN virtualization layer above real network components like DSL and MPLS will offer a simple and high performance IP pipe to the applications that requires an internet connection for communication. WAN optimization allows to bond various number of internet lines into a single connection. This bonding of connections offers better and faster connectivity, and efficient latency management with the tunnel connection.

WAN virtualizations unique feature that allows aggregating multiple connections into a single link offers various advantages for organizations. Apart from simple bandwidth management, WAN optimization improves bandwidth per location, mainly for organizational areas that are not connected with fiber links. These additional bandwidth comes usable for all applications at anytime as opposed to the bandwidth savings delivered by WAN Optimization via data de-duplication, the second or successive time any given data is accessed from the location. Furthermore, WAN Virtualization provides extra bandwidth options for initial data transfers as well as for data flows that are encrypted in a connection. WAN virtualization also allows the users to utilize all of the bandwidth across multiple connections for single TCP flows or for single application connections.

A single ADSL connection alone might not have enough bandwidth to satisfy the requirements of all the users in SMEs. For small and medium sized organizations, the bandwidth aggregation capabilities of WAN optimization offers better ROI as well as reduced network expenses. It allows enterprises to take advantage of the asymmetric bandwidths from cheaper broadband connections by aggregating multiple connections. The asymmetry in fact reflects the way that most traffic flows from data center to branch. By aggregating multiple connections, sufficient upstream bandwidth is available even for those enterprises that choose to eliminate a T1/E1 MPLS link at those sites.

Moreover, virtualization of the WAN allows WAN managers to reduce the burden of troubleshooting the portions of WAN where administrators have reduced visibility and control. It allows to seamlessly fixing errors at various locations even before the user identifies network issues. In addition, WAN Virtualization offers better visibility into the networks overall performance, track issues and resolve them without impacting the users or network performance.

With various technologies necessitating the need for high speed internet connections, WAN optimization as well as connection bonding is evolving to be a must have technology for every organizations IT department.