Wide area network (WAN) optimization seems to be a technology that just about every IT organization needs to one degree or another. But for one reason or another, a lot of IT organizations don't deploy any WAN optimization solutions at all.
One reason for this may come down simply to cost, which is a theory the folks at Silver Peak Systems want to put to the test. The provider of the WAN optimization products is making available a free version of its WAN optimization technology in the form of a virtual appliance.
According to Silver Peak CEO Rick Tinsley, the VX-Xpress virtual appliance offering is limited in terms of the amount of bandwidth it provides, so it's only really designed to support a point-to-point environment that needs to accelerate traffic between two specific nodes.
The rate at which WAN optimization has always been adopted has been something of a mystery. Clearly, there's been a lot of progress in this space in the last 12 months. But for a technology that should be a pretty standard element of any IT network arsenal, the rate at which IT organizations have been deploying WAN optimization over the last several years has been somewhat tepid.
Part of this issue may come down to who is actually trying to solve the WAN bandwidth problem. Network managers, says Tinsley, may not be as sensitive to the performance needs of a particular application, which then leads the application owner to go looking for a solution to the problem. What makes a virtual appliance attractive to application owners, adds Tinsley, is that as a piece of software it's relatively easy for them to install on their own versus trying to attach an appliance to the network.
There's always been tension between application owners and the folks who manage the network. At least now, the application owners in some instances can now fend for themselves