The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

The Role of WAN Optimization in Cloud Infrastructures

Posted by riverbedtest on October 18, 2010

As Evan Marcus noted, I did give a presentation at Storage Networking World (SNW) in Dallas last week on the "Role of WAN Optimization in Cloud Infrastructures."  I was quite impressed with the attendance, which was well beyond my expectations despite it being on the last day of the conference.  That's a indication there is strong interest in the topic.

Anyways, for those of you who weren't able to attend, I've summarized some of the main points of the presentation:

1)  The basic value proposition of the Cloud is for providers to obtain quantities of scale.  Cloud providers pass the benefits of lower per-unit IT costs to the enterprise customers through lower pricing for IT services (at a lower cost than the enterprise can procure those services themselves), while pocketing the remaining value as profit.  Cloud providers also provide deeper technical expertise through their specialization and focus on delivering IT services.

2) WAN optimization solutions deployed into the Cloud must similarly be able to scale.  A given WAN optimization product that might work for a small or medium-sized enterprise network will not necessarily be able to scale for a Cloud service provider's infrastructure, which must support multiple enterprise customers–some of them very large.  In such a massive-scale Cloud data center, the Cloud-hosted WAN optimization solution must be able to scale to extremely high connection counts, throughputs, and remote peer sites.  This is clearly a challenge for many WAN optimization product offerings in the market today.

3)  WAN optimization provides benefits for both Cloud Compute and Cloud Storage.  For Cloud computing, WAN optimization maintains fast access to cloud-hosted application data despite bandwidth and latency issues in the WAN.  For Cloud Storage, WAN optimization facilitates the backup and archival of enterprise data into the Cloud by speeding up the transfer of that data into the Cloud.

4)  Since WAN optimization is a dual-ended solution, the devices deployed in your network will have to interact with the WAN optimization devices deployed in the Cloud provider's infrastructure.    This becomes the natural conclusion when you consider that interoperability between WAN optimization products from different vendors is about as likely as Microsoft open-sourcing the software code behind Windows.  With this in mind, it becomes important to ensure that WAN optimization product you choose to deploy for your enterprise will also be supported by your Cloud provider.

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