SD-WAN is a powerful enabler of multi-cloud architectures.
WAN Optimization Was a Good Thing in the ’90s but its 2015, So Now What?
In the late ’90s and early 2000’s WAN Op was all the rage. The technique is a very effective way to squeeze more traffic across a low capacity network, so it quickly grew to become a top IT priority with an increasing number of businesses incorporating WAN Op solutions into their IT strategy.
Now that it’s 2015, WAN Op growth has slowed and many are wondering if WAN Op is past its prime. Sure, it is still good at using caching, compression and de-duping techniques to squeeze what would otherwise be a 3-4 Mbps stream down to fit across a 1.5 Mbps T-1 link. WAN Op was easy to deploy and it provided early relief when bandwidth demand increased, so it was broadly adopted. However, the benefit was limited and the ongoing and accelerating increase in demand for capacity – especially for real-time applications like voice and video, which cannot be helped by WAN Op – continued to overrun the network capacity.
TechTarget’s David Hughes noted that while WAN Op allows businesses to leverage more capacity from their limited WAN links and many businesses still utilize WAN Op today to help mitigate problems due to limited bandwidth resources, the standalone strategy is no longer sufficient.
“WAN optimization point products only provide short term gains when used in isolation,” Hughes noted. “Furthermore, they don’t address latency issues across the WAN, which have a significant impact on application performance – particularly when dealing with real-time applications like voice over IP and transactional applications like Citrix.”
Due to increased traffic levels, WAN Op on its own is simply not enough to deliver the WAN capacity that today’s business users need to support their bandwidth-hungry applications.
Adding to WAN optimization: What now?
Because today’s businesses require increased WAN capacity and improved reliability, network administrators are increasingly embracing the new concept of a Software Defined WAN, provided by Talari. This allows the network to become a hybrid WAN that incorporates high capacity, low cost Internet links. While WAN Op lets a business squeeze more traffic through a “thin pipe,” SD-WAN dramatically increases the size of the pipe itself. SD-WAN continues to support WAN Op, but the need for WAN Op is diminished when the size of the pipe is so large.
SD-WAN delivers other powerful benefits as well, including increased reliability and flexibility along with increased capacity so IT network managers are turning to SD-WAN as the key foundation of their enterprise WAN strategy.