The Bar is Raised for Wide Area Networks
In today's business environment, staying connected is critical. No man is an island, and neither is your company. No one can afford to suffer from unreliable network connections in the modern world. It can make the difference between exhilarating success and disappointing failure. But the goals have moved beyond just about keeping connections functioning and reliable. The challenge now is to optimize networks for the burgeoning applications that are dependent upon them.
Through the years, network connectivity technologies have evolved. Not so very long ago, companies survived on low-bandwidth x.25 connections or channelized E1/T1 links. Reliability was not a given on copper wires, and network operation centers found themselves manually testing lines for errors through remote connections to ensure their quality. The focus was on reaching the industry standard of 99.99% network availability. Maintaining connections was at times difficult and cumbersome.
Not so today. Business networks are more resilient than ever. No longer burdened by inefficient physical media or tiny bandwidth streams, companies are able to transfer data faster and more efficiently than ever before. But today's networks require focused solutions that address an intricate application architecture at higher levels of the OSI model.
In the old days, the talk was always about such factors as cost, bandwidth, reliability, load, and speed. Nowadays the emphasis is more on application delivery than the robustness of the network. Cisco offers a set of considerations for wide area network optimization:
- Network transparency
- Interoperability with Application Performance Monitoring Tools
- Partnership with Application Vendors
- Interoperability with Network-Based QoS
- Interoperability with Voice over IP (VoIP)
- Secure and Trustworthy Handling of SSL Optimization
- Intelligent Delivery of Live and On-demand Video
- System Scalability and High Availability
- Hybrid Caching Architecture
- Acceleration of Data Center to Data Center Applications
- Router-integrated Solution
- WAN Optimization for the Mobile Worker
- Network-embedded Virtualization
Merely purchasing the latest network equipment does not guarantee you will have an optimal network. Every network environment is different, and a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to abysmal results. There are many factors to be considered in designing and optimizing network connectivity, and expert consultation is advisable. The bar has been raised. The companies who take advantage of the best practices and latest advances in technology will also gain considerable financial advantages as a consequence.