Many large organisations may be finding that even the speed of light is not quick enough. Often, protocols for over the WAN were designed with the LAN in mind and have an unnecessary number of interactions back and forth between branch locations.
More workers are based in offices remote from a centralised server setup. At the same time, there is more data sharing between business partners and outsourcing. Data needs to travel greater distances.
Organisations need a facility that lets them squeeze more traffic on to WAN links, set priorities for users and applications and remove serial requests and responses. This, of course, is an opportunity for resellers.
The aim should be to speed up specific applications – an issue that was resolved for HTTP with object caching and data pipelining. Why not do the same for CIFS Microsoft file services and MAPI for Outlook, streaming and HTTPS protocols?
HTTPS growth is exponential. Yet it is hard to achieve as you need to intercept, decrypt, accelerate and re-encrypt before delivering to the user.
Some data being sent across WAN links is not needed. Inappropriate web surfing, entertainment streams and repeated requests for the same data, such as when many staff are copied in on an email with a large attachment, clutter the pipelines of many organisations.
Any system that accelerates data yet still allows such content will also be busy accelerating viruses, even more web surfing, spyware and spam. That hardly adds to system efficiency.
Devices at either end of WAN connections can help administrators decide which data to block, applying different types of caching and compression to reduce the amount of traffic, and so on.
Moving servers to central sites slashes the amount of maintenance and support that branch offices need and frees up servers for other purposes.
This kind of centralisation has to be good for business. For resellers, it brings WAN performance improvements to the fore.
It is a chance for resellers to champion what is effectively a make-or-break issue for critical business applications in the largest organisations.
Nigel Hawthorn is vice president for EMEA marketing at Blue Coat Systems
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