There has been a lot of buzz around WAN optimization over the past few months, with numerous mentions of what WAN optimization is and what it brings to the table. On the surface, it is certainly a cool technology, but it is a technology that requires some additional thought before implementing. It is certainly another great tool in the network managers arsenal.
WAN optimization should be considered as another component of an overall network management strategy. Why do I say this? Well there are several reasons, first of all, WAN optimization only provides a capability for a small subset of the network, WAN links. Certainly organizations want to use their bandwidth more efficiently and cost effectively, but if the links were not properly engineered and provisioned in the first place, WAN optimization will not help.
If anything, WAN optimization actually builds the case for more effective management of local networks connected by WAN links. Since WAN optimization only looks between edge routers, a more complete and consolidated end-to-end perspective is required and network management and monitoring provides that holistic view. No only does a network manager need to look at device status, but also the infrastructure as a whole; including devices, applications, and bandwidth. Network management and monitoring is the elemental solution that brings it all together in one place. For those organizations that are thinking about implementing WAN optimization, be sure that you have an overall network management and monitoring strategy or even better, a solution in place to get the whole picture and not just pieces of it.