Photo: Alan Leong
As the world becomes more connected through technology, the success of an organisation's business operations today is highly dependent on virtual initiatives and real-time applications.
Undoubtedly, unified communications, virtual desktops and data replication provide organisations with substantial benefits. These include providing organisations the ability to accelerate projects, allow employees to work more efficiently, and reduce costs in the process. However, what many organisations fail to realise is that these projects can be jeopardised by poor wide area network (WAN) performance.
A survey conducted by trade agency IE Singapore in 2012 and 2013 found that 1,416 companies in Singapore have overseas operations or intend to venture overseas. The study also revealed that overseas revenue accounts for nearly three-quarters of overall sales for Singaporean firms, compared with 65 percent a year earlier. This is an indication that more local firms are extending operations into overseas markets.
With more companies expanding their businesses geographically, limited bandwidth, long distances and poor network quality are factors that can hamper the performance of key initiatives, from data centre consolidation to cloud computing to disaster recovery. This article discusses why many organisations are increasingly investing in WAN optimisation technology to help alleviate these burdens.
Tackling network infrastructure challenges
What many businesses struggle to understand is that the relationship between bandwidth, latency and packet loss is complicated, with some having a greater impact than others in any given network environment. Adding more bandwidth, for example, will not always make a difference. All the bandwidth in the world will not matter if packets are being dropped due to the use of shared WAN infrastructure. Subsequently, enterprises must grasp the importance of tackling the underlying network challenges that obstruct key business application performance.
WAN optimisation presents a possible solution by overcoming latency, packet loss, and bandwidth challenges that cause critical applications to be unresponsive and unreliable across the WAN. It also provides real-time optimisation techniques that maximise WAN performance, which is a fundamental aspect of any successful data centre initiative.
A network approach
By implementing a network-centric approach to WAN optimisation, organisations are able to achieve maximum scalability and the flexibility, which is required to support all current and emerging applications on the network. This helps to eliminate the vulnerability gap that can seriously compromise strategic IT plans.
One of the most predominant WAN optimisation tools is de-duplication, which is targeted at cutting down the large portion of repetitive information that is sent across a WAN. By recognising repetitive information and delivering it locally wherever possible, WAN optimisation can reduce WAN traffic by as much as 90 percent or more. This can accelerate data transfer times and significantly lower ongoing IT costs.
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