The Growing Importance of Inbound QoS Control

Michael Vizard

Just about everybody is familiar with the concept of quality of service in the context of IT. But not many organizations have that much control over it, especially in the branch office where it turns out that the ability to control what network traffic comes in and when can make a critical difference.

According to Eric Carter, senior marketing manager for the Steelhead business unit at Riverbed Technology, inbound QoS allows a branch office where a Steelhead wide area network (WAN) optimization appliance is deployed to prioritize traffic for latency-sensitive or business-critical applications over less important or even recreational network traffic emanating from Facebook or YouTube.

Given the limited network bandwidth typically available to a branch office, Carter says control over inbound QoS is especially important because it doesn’t take much to overwhelm a branch office with extraneous network traffic. Essentially, what Riverbed is announcing today is an enhancement to its Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) software that extends the inbound QoS capabilities of the Steelhead appliances that normally get deployed in the data center out to the branch office where it’s increasingly needed.

Some of that need just reflects the enhanced processing capabilities available in Steelhead appliances for the branch office, but a fair amount of that shift also reflects the changing nature of the types of traffic moving through the branch office these days.

In either case, in an age of hyper-converged networks where the branch office is increasingly becoming directly connected to the Internet, a way to extend policy control engines out to the branch office has become a business-critical requirement.

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