The goal of WAN optimization is not just to increase effective bandwidth, but also to help ensure sufficient and predictable operation of QoS under the variety of conditions. WAN optimization can reduce bandwidth usage by minimizing the total amount of data transferred. Different bandwidth management methods can also be used to reduce latency, cache commonly accessed files, accelerate applications or prioritize network usage, thus improving the user experience.
A recent post to the WAN Optimization Professionals group on LinkedIn asked: “If bandwidth is not a concern, then what is the argument for wan optimization? Would you consider it to be even more important?” The post has 37 responses – so it must have been a good question.
Of course, in most environments bandwidth is a concern – and a major one. Without adequate bandwidth allocation, packet loss and TCP retransmissions all increase, eroding the performance and user experience of business-critical, network-sensitive services like VoIP, video conferencing and virtual desktops.
Maintaining adequate bandwidth as the network and traffic volume constantly change requires additional metrics not offered by WAN optimization tools.
The point is: knowing your available and utilized bandwidth is vital to assuring network and application performance. Bottlenecks can and do occur on even the most robust networks, and you need to
1) know the exact amount of bandwidth you can use, not just the amount you pay for;
2) know what applications are using what bandwidth; and
3) be able to pinpoint and rectify issues rapidly.
The vast majority of WAN traffic does not demand massive bandwidth. Often it’s a few voracious applications (anyone roll out a backup service recently?!) that suddenly demand all of the network’s capacity. And many bandwidth-intensive applications will take whatever capacity they can appropriate, even by robbing it from other running applications.
So one minute you “have enough bandwidth,” the next minute you don’t. And when capacity is maxed out, packets are likely to be dropped and user productivity can suffer.
Besides, simply lavishing resources on the network to maintain massive bandwidth is a waste of money. You need real-time metrics on bandwidth because you’re paying for it, and you need to get the most for your money – not only in terms of bandwidth but also in terms of reliability, scalability and “clean capacity” – which are what today’s network-sensitive applications need to deliver an acceptable user experience.
PathView Cloud works in harmony with WAN optimization strategies to tell you everything you need to know about bandwidth, latency and other key metrics to pinpoint bottlenecks and maximize your network’s QoS.