WAN optimization gaining ground

By Kevin Komiega

Virtual private networks (VPNs) still reign supreme as the top technology for tying together the distributed enterprise, but as the number of mobile workers continues to skyrocket, WAN optimization and acceleration technologies are gaining ground in enterprise environments as a viable option for centralizing data management and speeding application access at the edge.

According to a new study from Forrester Consulting, VPNs are king of the hill with 35% of enterprises stating they are currently deploying SSL VPN technology on a large scale, with an additional 30% of enterprises citing a strategic VPN initiative underway. But WAN optimization implementations are currently the second most common technology being used to tackle the distributed enterprise. According to Forrester, 48% of the enterprises surveyed had implemented the technology to some degree, with 26% already considering their implementations to be large-scale and strategic.

The study, “Optimizing Users and Applications in a Mobile World,” surveyed more than 300 IT decision-makers in a range of industries and, based on the data collected by Forrester, there is no doubt that organizations are fragmenting at a rapid pace.

For instance, 40% of respondents say their organization will likely be more decentralized three years from now. This continued decentralization is creating high demand for technologies that can maintain control of user data while accelerating user access to network resources. That is why, according to Forrester, companies are looking to wide area data services (WDS) and WAN optimization/acceleration vendors to tie it all together, and the vendors are responding to growing demand.

For example, Packeteer plays in the WDS space and recently began delivering some new products designed to more effectively centralize management of mobile and distributed users.

Among the new products is a unified central management system called Intelligence-Center, which is a single portal for control of applications across the enterprise. Also on the horizon is a new version of Packeteer’s Mobiliti, which centralizes backups of remote user data and speeds application access, as well as a new appliance called the Talon TC30 that functions as a turbocharger for the company’s line of PacketShaper devices.


“The Talon TC30 platform is the first product to use our next-generation architecture. It sits on top of our existing PacketShaper 10000 platforms and acts as a turbocharger to boost capacity over the WAN and help customers achieve scalability requirements,” says Mike Urban, director of product marketing at Packeteer.

The Talon TC30 supports up to three physical WAN segments and 6Gbps aggregate throughput. The Talon platform does the heavy lifting, while the PacketShaper 10000 automatically manages the Talon and takes advantage of increased throughput.

The IntelligenceCenter Console is available free of charge to Packeteer customers. The IntelligenceCenter Reporting Module and Data Collector are also available now and are priced according to the number of devices managed and the rate of application flows supported, respectively. The Talon TC30 will be generally available next month.

Riverbed Technology is also rolling out new products to help users protect and control data in an increasingly distributed world. For example, the company recently announced version 4.1 of its Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) as well as a new Steelhead appliance- model 6120.

The enhancements in RiOS 4.1 and the Steelhead 6120 include application-specific optimization for large-scale data transfers in support of disaster- recovery operations.

RiOS 4.1 now combines WAN optimization with a new set of behavioral traffic-recognition features to enable adaptive acceleration based on the size and type of the data being transferred. RiOS automatically recognizes disaster-recovery operations, such as data replication and backup jobs, and adjusts accordingly to give priority to DR applications for faster performance.

The Steelhead 6120 appliance is designed for data-center-to-data-center transfers, while retaining the capability to support acceleration for branch offices and mobile workers. The 6120 has a raw capacity of 7TB and a data store that is more than 3TB.

In addition, Riverbed has introduced optimizations for Oracle11i applications and encryption capabilities for the data stored on disk in Steelhead appliances.

RiOS 4.1 is available now at no additional cost to licensees with a maintenance and support contract. The Steelhead 6120 is priced from $119,995.



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  • This article was originally published on February 01, 2008