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January 11, 2007

WAN optimization is more than acceleration

Ipanema Technologies recently announced results of The Tolly Group's evaluation of its wide area networks application traffic management systems, which were summarized using metrics known as MOS and APDEX. Other firms should begin measuring user experience, using such metrics, and seriously consider implementing an application optimization solution that goes beyond just accelerating traffic.

By CBR Staff Writer

The results were summarized using the Mean Opinion Score (MOS) for VoIP and Application Performance Index (APDEX) performance metric for all other software. APDEX, developed by the Apdex Alliance, is a numerical measure of user satisfaction with the performance of enterprise applications. These metrics are better suited for capturing quality of experience than traditional response-time metrics and acceleration factors.

In recent years, applications have become increasingly mission-critical for all sizes of organization. Many have now deployed enterprise applications, such as SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and Siebel, and are facing growing problems with poor performance, reliability, and security. This is due to the deployment of web-based interfaces, consolidation of the IT infrastructure, and with the increasing use of remote locations and mobile working.

The use of the wide area network (WAN), with its bottlenecks and constraints, can significantly impact upon application performance, making WAN usage a more challenging environment, with such issues as bandwidth/latency limits, low throughput, and spotty reliability. Historically, most applications have been designed for reliable, high bandwidth, low latency local area networks where application and protocol chattiness were not considered an issue, and there was no real need to proactively manage bandwidth availability.

It is rare for performance to be an end in itself, and, in most cases, the costs involved in achieving better levels of application performance must be justified by the attainment of an objective, such as mitigating a particular risk, being able to satisfy the terms of a service level agreement, consolidation strategy, or avoiding a measurable direct cost as a result of poor execution.

Although there are physical limits to the performance of any software, better performance, to some extent, can usually be brought about by the deployment of application performance-enhancing solutions in the operational infrastructure. Depending on the application’s design, the optimization might make use of computing techniques, such as intelligent routing, compression, caching, pattern recognition, or quality of service.

The Ipanema Application Traffic Management solution has a number of features that translate into the ability to guarantee the performance of business-critical applications over the network, and to get a real understanding of how the network behaves towards applications. The system also provides the ability to efficiently handle meshed flows without the need to statically reserve bandwidth or deploy devices everywhere. The functionality found in the solution combines to provide good scalability and low total cost of ownership.

Organizations must start to measure actual user experience, using metrics such as MOS and APDEX, and seriously consider implementing an application optimization solution that not only accelerates traffic but also offers other management and visibility features.

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Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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