Business Benefits of WAN Optimization

business benefits of wan optimization

WAN optimization is one technology being used to improve network performance. These days, enterprises are putting an increasing amount of stress on their networks due to a rising number of devices and other access points. As these endpoints and demands continue to grow, it will become more and more important to ensure that resources are available for all processes and pursuits. There are many business benefits of WAN optimization.

What is WAN optimization?
WAN optimization is an effective solution to many network issues. TechTarget contributor Margaret Rouse noted that this approach is a category of technologies used to speed the flow of information and improve the overall efficiency of wide area networks. The process includes traffic shaping, data deduplication, compression, caching, network monitoring and protocol spoofing. WAN optimization is of particular benefit when it comes to reducing the repetitive use of bandwidth by applications that are accessing documents, images and other files that can take advantage of caching or compression.

How can businesses benefit from WAN optimization?
What does this mean for the typical business? In short, it means improved delivery of services access over the web. According to Industry Week’s WAN specialist Kevin Barrett, employees can have quicker access to files as well as improved application performance with WAN optimization. The technology also provides boosted network speeds between multiple office locations, a critical concept for organizations operating across state and national lines.

WAN optimization can also allow for improved business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) processes.” Crashed servers and applications can take a significant amount of time to recover,” Barrett wrote. “Optimization’s ability to increase network response time capabilities and enable users to rapidly regain access to critical applications, increasing productivity.”

Combining WAN optimization with WAN virtualization
While WAN optimization is great for certain classes of applications, it does not add much value to bandwidth-hungry, real-time applications such as VDI, VoIP and streaming video, because with those applications there is no static data to cache and the packets are usually already compressed as much as possible by the application itself. These classes of applications benefit greatly from a technology called WAN virtualization. Additionally, networks that depend on a single connection with limited bandwidth face a high probability of congestion, over-utilization and the inevitability of link outages that would cut off a remote office’s ability to connect to the data center and the Internet.

WAN virtualization is a technology that allows organizations to introduce bandwidth from multiple unique sources at each location to create a robust WAN fabric between remote networks and the data center. This provides a much larger pool of bandwidth, seamless uptime between locations and granular control of traffic flows between sites. It also allows for an extremely reliable and predictable environment that is designed specifically for application performance and provides the scalability and flexibility to tackle the new initiatives that IT organizations face with a distributed WAN environment.

WAN virtualization in practice
Woodstream, a market leader in consumer packaged goods, implemented WAN virtualization technology to enable the use of multiple WAN connections. The goal was for each location to have two broadband connections from different ISPs to mitigate the very real risk of an outage.

“Every day one or two ISP connections go down, but that’s no longer an issue, since we installed WAN virtualization,” said Larry Schumacher, Woodstream’s network administrator. “That problem is gone.”

Network traffic for Woodstream includes Citrix, email, file sharing, database replication and warehouse management. Creating a virtualized WAN enabled Woodstream’s network traffic to flow over all available communication links. If a line goes down, traffic is automatically routed to the remaining good links.

“Even when our MPLS links fail, which they do, from time to time, our users don’t notice anything different,” said Schumacher.

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