WAN optimization and virtualization grow up together

Joe Ghory

Riverbed's Joe Ghory.

Virtualization and WAN optimization go hand-in-hand in the cloud computing realm. Cloud computing as a concept isn’t new, but improvements in technologies like virtualization and WAN optimization are helping to drive the adoption of both public and private clouds.

WAN optimization and virtualization have grown up together, and the two play a critical role in the deployment and usage of cloud computing applications, said Joe Ghory, product marketing manager for Steelhead appliances at Riverbed Technology. The two technologies free up the ability for data to be located wherever a customer wants it to be located (whether it’s on premise, in a private cloud or out in the public cloud somewhere), and the combination of the two has driven IT architectural changes over the last few years.
 One of the key problems facing businesses and providers of cloud services is attaining application performance equal to what’s found in on-premise applications. It’s a challenge that’s not fully solved, as cloud-based applications can rival but not quite equal the performance achieved with on-premise deployments. According to Ghory, though, WAN optimization technologies like those from Riverbed work with virtualized servers and applications to give customers five times faster performance than they would otherwise get from the cloud.

“One of the things that’s been really interesting is the evolution of WAN optimization and virtualization have grown up together and really benefit each other,” Ghory said. “The introduction of cloud has broadened the opportunity for organizations in terms of what architecture they may be interested in deploying, today as well as in the future.”

End-users are sensitive to how an application fits into the cloud, how to move it to the cloud and what the consequences are of shifting it to the cloud. Will it be an easy migration, and will it provide the performance necessary to keep people productive?

The promise of WAN optimization in a virtualized world is the freedom of placing architecture anywhere, Ghory said. Channel partners are able to take a consultative role in helping their customers move to the cloud and use the technologies available to make the shift as seamless as possible while still retaining strong performance metrics.

According to Nagwa Koressa, president of Integra Networks (a solution provider specializing in virtualization for government customers), WAN optimization is absolutely necessary when virtualization is introduced.

“The performance is key,” she said.

Unfortunately, poor end-user experiences have made people acutely aware of the pains of latency, Ghory said. Some virtualization deployments end in disaster, with end-users having to deal with poor application performance and limited bandwidth. This is a pain point the channel can address.

“For the channel provider, it gives them the opportunity to really extend the benefits of optimization to the cloud, maintain consistency around these different environments, and giving customers … the chance to look at the cloud or any environment and really understand the impact that latency, bandwidth and protocol efficiency are going to have on their environments,” Ghory said.