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WAN Optimization to Regulate Virtual Traffic

By CIOReview | Thursday, April 6, 2017

The ever-increasing pervasiveness of cloud computing in enterprise and IT domains has led to a spike in cloud-delivered hosted applications. The network operators today are under constant pressure to rein in the costs and support the latest and real-time applications while balancing the rising bandwidth demands. With a client base that ranges from IT-intensive enterprises to application service providers offering hosted solutions, the network operators today focus on delivering connectivity services that includes Ethernet and IP virtual private networks. This increased adoption of applications and technologies such as video, VoIP, and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and other unified Communications (UC) technologies, is significantly contributing to complex Wide Area Network (WAN) traffic patterns, while posing renewed challenges to the WAN performance.

Application Delivery Challenges over the WAN

As enterprises increasingly rely on cloud-based and SaaS applications to cover multiple business functions—inventory, point of sale (POS), voice over IP (VoIP)—a key challenge for their IT departments today revolves around reliable delivery of these mission-critical applications to end-users. In addition, there is a consequential rise in the traffic levels on WAN as more users try to access applications and other data. To augment enterprise-wide productivity levels, organizations today need to choose the right WAN architecture that offers unhindered access to both local and remote employees as well as business partners and customers.

In addition to streamlining the provisioning of IT services, the role of cloud computing encompasses consolidation of servers into centralized data centers and virtualization of those servers. This consolidation and virtualization of servers eventually results in additional application traffic traversing through the WAN.

Streamlined Application Delivery with WAN Optimization Controllers

WAN Optimization Controllers (WOCs) have proven to be a mission-critical component of the modern IT architectures as they specialize in optimizing application delivery over the Private IP WAN. To counter the surge in WAN usage and the security vulnerabilities associated with it, IT firms are actively implementing WOCs that seamlessly integrate with their enterprise security functionality as well. WOCs have been credited with accelerating virtual applications while speeding up data transfers and minimizing bandwidth costs by combining application, network, and protocol optimization. WOCs are mostly proprietary solutions designed to accelerate and deliver Quality of Service (QoS) for internet traffic over private networks, they are "dual ended" and are deployed in the main data centers and branch offices. Apart from helping IT enterprises in overcoming application delivery challenges, WOCs substantially bring down the volume of traffic for client-side virtualized applications while optimizing the protocols used in server-side virtualization. A key challenge associated with client-side application virtualization is application streaming as the process entails the delivery of a virtualized application to an end system's isolation environment from a centralized application repository in an on-demand manner. Application streaming has been known to generate performance-related issues that can be solved by deploying a WOC. Enterprises can leverage WOC to cache the virtual application code at the client's site to greatly reduce the volume of traffic for client-side virtualized applications. This also allows the applications to run locally in case of network outages.

Enter Virtual WAN Accelerators

Dynamic provisioning of virtual machines is a popular concept associated with cloud computing adoption where IT enterprises dynamically provision virtual machines, the supporting WAN infrastructure and the WOCs. With the deployment of virtual WAN accelerators in the data center, enterprises are able to dynamically provision their WOCs. The benefits associated with virtualization include flexible deployment options, rapid cost savings, and migration of the WAN optimization process to an online and self-service model. For instance, the providers operating in the WAN Optimization marketplace today offer enterprises with a wholesome range of virtual appliances running on a varied range of hypervisors—VMware vSphere, Citrix Xen, and Microsoft Hyper-V.