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WAN Optimization Appliances

Benefits of WAN Optimization Appliances/Devices

WAN Optimization Controllers (WOCs)

They are dedicated devices that are generally used for improving the application response time. They are deployed on a WAN link on either end.

A WAN Optimization Controller is typically a Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and is connected to WAN Routers on the Local Area Network (LAN) side. It can also be an application that is integrated with servers and customer devices. Application performance over WANs can be substantially improved by strategically deploying WOCs at data centers and remote locations. WOCs are focused on improving the response time of business-sensitive applications that are conducted across WAN links.

Through using protocol optimization techniques, WAN optimization controllers can avoid network latency. WOCs use compression or caching techniques to reduce data transmitted across the Wide Area Network. Depending on the WAN traffic, they also perform data prioritization. QoS Policing and traffic shaping are also key features of using WAN optimization controllers. Is still in the maturation process. As per a recent Gartner research report, some of the distinct features that can be found in today’s WAN optimization controllers include:

  • Enterprise Content Delivery Network (CDN) features, which enables speed in delivery of streaming live and on-demand media content
  • Acceleration features (application-specific) for Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), TCP, and access for Common Internet File System (CIFS)
  • Security features like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) optimization, and tunnel encryption between WAN optimization controllers and encrypted discs
  • Speed in application delivery to remotely located systems through client software
  • Integration of features such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Domain Name System (DNS), Active Directory and print server for business organizations that require an integrated branch-office appliance
  • Policy-based routing and selection of route enabled through integrating router features in the WOC devices
  • Monitoring and enforcing rules that are specific to applications

Leading vendors in the market – A Comparison

The WAN optimization technology market is active with leading vendors offering varying effective combinations of WAN optimizing technology that suits specific purposes. A particular vendor’s WAN optimization appliances might work perfectly for a specific traffic mix than others. Similarly, other appliances are applied based on requirements. Vendors such as Riverbed, Bluecoat Systems, Cisco, Citrix, Juniper, F5 Networks, Packeteer, Expand Networks, FatPipe Networks, Silver Peak Systems, and other vendors are known for their unique suite of WAN optimization solutions and technologies. According to a 2007 Forrester research report, Riverbed and Juniper led the WAN Optimization appliances market. The key techniques noted these two vendors offered to users were advanced compression, caching, data and de-duplication.

Nowadays, vendors are targeting potential corporate customers with custom-made solutions, which are unique for their functionality. As far as WAN optimization appliances or products are concerned, many leading vendors are seen to hold some technology blend as outstanding. While Silver Peak systems provides scalable solutions, Blue Coat and Cisco offer a suite of solutions and technology that can be plugged into router and proxy products. The rapidly growing FatPipe Networks has introduced an array of innovative products to handle a wide variety of network types. Businesses of all sizes use FatPipe’s devices to ensure WAN stability and redundancy. FatPipe devices provide the highest levels of WAN optimization, reliability, security, and bandwidth management. They provide dynamic load balancing and automatic failover capabilities, which increase the efficiency of WANs. FatPipe WAN optimization products enable redundant and high speed data transfer through multiple internet connections. This in turn enables WAN acceleration due to increased bandwidth capabilities.

As advancements in WAN optimization technology are constantly happening, there is fierce competition in the market for producing WAN optimizers that deliver tangible benefits in terms of performance, scalability, and integrity. Users look for optimizations, security, scalability, and mobility in WAN optimization devices and related appliances. The customer demands form the basis for further developments.