WAN Optimization: Limited to International Networks or Also Suited to Local In-Country Networks?

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Provider-managed WAN optimization is less likely to be used in the U.S. market due to the widespread availability of cost-effective bandwidth across major towns and cities.
  • A number of pan-European and UK carriers report take-up of managed WAN optimization in domestic-only networks.

WAN optimization can be a costly component and there is always going to be a tradeoff between throwing bandwidth at a problem versus implementing some sort of WAN optimization.  The other question IT managers face is whether to buy and drop in WAN optimization on their own in a DIY setup or to contract a service provider, but this is a topic for a future discussion.  Current Analysis has noticed a difference between the way UK and U.S. service providers respond to the question.  In the U.S., national operators are ambivalent about deploying their own managed WAN optimization services, because there is not much customer demand.  WAN optimization CPE and provider-managed services are expensive, and it is more logical for customers to purchase more capacity, rather than to try to manage capacity more granularly.  There are some provider WAN optimization services run out of Internet data centers, and some enterprises will buy and drop in their own CPE to triage their worst application behavior.  In contrast, BT and Colt report customers that subscribe to their domestic UK WAN optimization implementations. Read more of this post

Overlay Networks Are the Answer to Slow-Moving Service Provider WANs

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Network operators are competing with enterprise technology for value-added services.
  • Enterprises, being more nimble, can bring up new services faster regardless of their service provider.

One day in 1994, I called my local telephone company about getting a foreign exchange line to a nearby city so that I could stop paying local long distance.  I was told the install would cost $1,500 and the monthly charge was $500.  I asked why it was so expensive, and the representative said that the prices covered the cost to run the line 30 miles and a monthly right-of-way rental.  My next question – “Can I see the crew run the line and do I get to keep it when I am done?” – was met with silence and then a “no.”  That was my first run-in with the rigid IT and archaic processes at a large telco, and it illustrates a problem IT faces today. Read more of this post

Novel Business Models Built Upon an All-Internet Philosophy Threaten to Disrupt Traditional Telecom

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Aryaka launched Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) for IPSec-secured access over existing Internet links onto Aryaka’s POPs to create global data WANs.
  • Kunnect provides an early-mover cloud-based hosted call center solution with a free-of-charge version.

The rapid expansion of companies that have based their products and strategies entirely in the cloud from the outset is disrupting traditional market models. This is hardly new: After VoIP providers first disrupted traditional telephone calling rates, Skype pioneered P2P technology that largely abolished per-minute billing for voice. However the change is ongoing. Two companies are recent examples that break traditions with aggressive sales for all-cloud products and services targeting the enterprise: Aryaka and Kunnect. Usually free trials are a consumer play, and that’s because they are low-cost, best effort, over the unsecure public Internet, and shared infrastructure are not really the routes that the cautious business IT buyer would choose to go down. On the other hand, the cost to deploy a fully managed and dedicated circuit with security appliances and the backing of professional service teams is very high. Read more of this post

Silver Peak Drives Home Coordination’s Benefits with Data Center Optimization

B. Washburn

B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Silver Peak optimizes loads between data centers by deploying WAN optimization software and VMware integration that reaches beyond vCenter.
  • This is not great news for WAN providers, as the data center innovation treats the WAN as a static commodity.

My last blog addressed the elements of building intelligent networks.  It bemoaned that the managed service elements that could go into end-to-end services visibility and control are a largely uncoordinated patchwork.  Well, it looks like WAN optimization vendor Silver Peak has been thinking along the same lines.  The vendor took a step forward by embedding its WAN optimization solutions inside VMware vCenter.  An IT manager that needs to connect workloads across data centers can access vCenter, select from the list of virtual machines and workloads, and click-to-activate/deactivate WAN optimization for selected applications.  VMware vCenter launches a Silver Peak tab that displays information about the application flows being optimized.  To make this technique work, the company can’t rely on placing hardware everywhere.  Instead, Silver Peak lets customers load its WAN optimization software to run on virtual machines residing at each end of their cloud applications.  Besides getting its application plugged into VMware vCenter, Silver Peak controls VMware’s switching between virtual machines in the cloud, to optimize the connection between Silver Peak’s WAN optimization instance and the targeted application to be accelerated.  Silver Peak is unlikely to remain a lone player for long for this type of solution. Read more of this post

Providers Face Intelligent Networks’ Vendor Ecosystem: How to Jury-Rig an Orchestra?

B. Washburn

B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • The elements of intelligent networking include end-to-end visibility and dynamic control over the cloud, applications, and bandwidth.
  • A smart network will automatically adjust and re-configure itself to meet changing demands.
  • These intelligent network components support a diversity of vendors that aren’t coordinated with each other.

Earlier in July, colleague Joel Stradling and I collaborated on a free Current Analysis webinar titled “2012: The Year of the Intelligent Network.”  An hour-long presentation with Q&A seems just enough time to scratch the surface of this broad and deep topic.  The presentation prompted several interesting discussions, and it’s an area where we will continue to monitor, analyze, and predict the market’s trajectory. Read more of this post

Buying Networking by the Drink Could Be Just What the CFO Ordered

P. Musich

P. Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • It is too soon to tell whether subscription pricing for networking equipment is a growing trend, with only two vendors offering such choices, but it is worth tracking.
  • Network operators should think about what it would mean for their network infrastructure upgrade process and explore with their network provider of choice whether it is considering adding such a pricing option.

What if you could buy your networking infrastructure in the same way you can buy cloud-based SaaS, PaaS, or name your XaaS?  If you could pay for it out of your OpEx budget, through a subscription model that allows you to pay as you grow, would you do it?

Read more of this post

Squeezing Maximum Juice Out of Your Corporate WAN

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Your network service provider should be able to provide applications performance management and WAN optimization.
  • Poor applications performance damages corporate productivity; meanwhile, understanding how applications are performing and behaving should lead to cost savings and a faster network.

Like going to the dentist, IT managers should be encouraging their data network suppliers to work together to conduct regular network performance audits to learn about how the data WAN is running between all connected business locations, including data centres.  Performance on off-net, IPSec-connected sites continues to raise challenges, but all of the major telecom companies, including AT&T, BT, Telefonica Multinational Solutions, Tata Communications, T-Systems, Orange Business Services and Verizon, for example, now support broad ranges of applications performance management and WAN optimization/acceleration tools, which can help considerably to improve applications response times over the available bandwidth.  Typical third-party partners that carriers use for delivering such services include Bluecoat, Cisco, Juniper, Ipanema and Riverbed.  Just to frame what one could be missing: A major European carrier has claimed 20 times faster WAN response and 63% bandwidth reduction following one such consultation.  Applications performance is also evolving rapidly for mobile networks and devices; a handful of telcos are deploying a Gomez (Compuware) platform to assess end-user experience from mobile devices to corporate Web sites and Web applications, whilst Riverbed provides acceleration to mobile users using a ‘Steelhead Mobile’ client.