The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

The value of WAN optimization

Posted by riverbedtest on October 5, 2009


"Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get."

– Warren Buffett


According to wikipedia, a commodity is some good which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market.  In other words, the value of a commodity product does not depend on who you purchase it from.  For example, gold that you buy from some fancy jeweler has the same intrinsic value as the gold that you buy from a precious metals wholesaler.

In high tech it can be argued that there are some product categories that have been commoditized.  For example, Ethernet switches are available from a number of different network equipment vendors.  While each individual switch product might have specific features and capabilities that make them appear unique, in most cases switches from any given vendor can be made to fulfill a general network requirement.  Given this observation, it often makes sense to purchase Ethernet switches from the lowest-price vendor.

But the idea of a commoditized WAN optimization market is encouraged and promoted by vendors who know they have serious deficiencies in their WAN optimization products.  These vendors know that their WAN optimization products are inferior to Riverbed, and therefore they need to offer significantly lower prices in order to compensate.

The fact is lower prices do not address the product's deficiencies as far as functionality is concerned.  Lower prices do not affect the scalability of the product for large deployments.  Lower prices do not affect the ability of the product to facilitate consolidation and removal of remote servers.  Lower prices do not allow that product to eliminate data centers and thereby save $millions of dollars per year.  Lower prices do not make the cheaper WAN optimization product more capable in any way. 

I have personally witnessed how customers who purchase the cheaper WAN optimization product struggle for months or years, and in many cases eventually have to remove it from their networks.  Their original mistake:  thinking that the value of a WAN optimization offering is somehow inversely related to the price that they pay for it.

One Response to “The value of WAN optimization”

  1. I am absolutely agree with the fact that these cheap products are creating problems and want help the purpose. It would be better that selecting the proper WAN solution will be a good choice.

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