Contributed article by Shawn Cooney, Co-Founder and Director of Research, Certeon
What the 2010 Cloud Means for WAN Optimization
Virtualization saw enormous gains in 2009. With clear TCO benefits from saved acquisition, operations, and maintenance/support costs, the market embraced going virtual from the desktop to the application level. This meant a never-before-seen increase in traffic over wide area network (WAN) links—which will have significant implications for application performance and enterprise productivity in 2010.
Over the next year, the amount of virtualization and subsequent strain on the WAN will continue to grow with a major shift toward cloud computing. While much has been said about cloud computing, a lot of confusion still remains—about what constitutes the term itself, and where elements like virtualization and WAN Optimization will fit in. We believe that 2010 will be the realization of the Year of the Cloud, where a firm definition of the idea will take hold and be implemented among businesses everywhere. In turn, we’ll see a larger understanding among IT and business managers that WAN optimization technology is a fundamental component for the successful delivery of cloud services.
The significant need for the right WAN optimization technology will become abundantly clear as business managers centralize more and more services in the cloud. Resources that were formerly stored locally will now be accessed exclusively via the Internet or WAN; yet expectations for application performance will stay the same or even rise. With this, enterprises will need to embrace the cost and scalability benefits of cloud computing while simultaneously continuing to meet employee standards for access and application performance. While resources might be physically farther away than ever, users will expect their applications to work quickly and flawlessly, regardless of location.
Further complicating the puzzle is that the users themselves will be accessing documents and files from increasingly disparate settings. IT managers will need to provide successful remote access to centralized corporate services as telecommuting becomes progressively more popular.
All of this means that Internet and WAN acceleration will take on new levels of importance to protect against lost productivity and employee frustration. Because cloud services' infrastructure relies on virtualization for its implementation, the most successful WAN optimization solution will also utilize virtualization technologies in order to deliver the following elements:
- Deployment flexibility and consistent performance. A fully virtualized application acceleration appliance will boost deployment flexibility due to the lack of new hardware requirements, because the software approach to WAN optimization instead effectively uses existing server hardware.
- Savings and scalability. This approach ensures that there is no need for dedicated hardware to support WAN optimization, saving on CAPEX and OPEX. Cost savings will also be realized through virtual scalability. As enterprises add more services or applications to be accessed by additional remote workers via the cloud, the virtualized WAN optimization model will be able to scale linearly.
- Seamless integration with virtualization. All delivery and deployment of centralized services happen through the cloud, and the cloud is virtualized. In order to leverage the cost and management benefits of a virtualized cloud computing environment, WAN optimization technologies work most effectively within standard virtualization infrastructures, as opposed to working outside of virtualization as a stand-alone WAN optimization appliance.
The bottom line is that the future of cloud computing and the efficiency of WAN optimization/application acceleration technologies are irreversibly linked. Increased WAN optimization, application performance, and scalability will be the true cornerstones of enabling virtualization and cloud computing environments in 2010.
About the Author
Shawn Cooney is a founder of Certeon, with over 25 years of experience in information and network security. Mr. Cooney has expertise in digital rights management, MPEG compression, and networking security. He holds a patent in audio and video compression over IP networks and was a member of the IETF MPEG 4 Systems and Digital Rights Management committees. Prior to Certeon, Mr. Cooney founded a Streaming Media Codec and Application company, a software copyright protection company and was a senior consulting engineer in EMC Media Solutions and Advanced Development groups.