Juniper’s take on network optimization

* Thoughts from Network World’s recent network/application optimization seminars

Today we’re continuing our series summarizing the two seminars that Network World recently produced, and Jim moderated, on the topic of network and application optimization. Like a handful of vendors, Juniper has two different classes of solutions for network optimization, one of which is targeted at resolving the performance problems associated with accessing applications over the Web.

According to the Juniper speaker at the seminars, this solution has four primary components to: improve the performance of servers by offloading tasks such as SSL processing; increase application availability by providing functionality such as application-aware load balancing; provide protection against DOS and DDOS attacks by enabling threat mitigation, which is the next component of the Juniper solution; and provide visibility into things such as data center and Web performance. Whether or not you adopt the Juniper solution, its four-component methodology for analyzing this class of solutions is helpful.

The second class of solution that Juniper discussed is targeted at resolving WAN application performance problems. Although this is common terminology in our industry it’s confusing because the Internet is certainly a WAN, but that is not what is being referred to in this context. In this context, WAN refers to basically anything but the Internet; i.e., private line, frame relay, ATM, MPLS.

Juniper also used a four-component methodology to analyze its solution to WAN application performance problems. One of these is targeted at congestion and involves techniques such as compression and caching. The second includes a variety of acceleration techniques that are intended to mitigate the affect of WAN latency. The third component includes functionality such as QoS that is intended to negate the issues caused by contention for WAN resources. The final component is system-wide manageability, which includes tools for visibility, monitoring and troubleshooting.

The Juniper speaker brought up three topics that we will explore in future newsletters. One of these is the architecture of networking equipment in the branch office. For example, should QoS be implemented in a router or in a separate device? The other topics are the need to move away from static QoS towards dynamic, and the coming together of security and optimization, from both a planning and an operations perspective.

Next time, we’ll describe what F5 had to say at the seminars. Network World will be producing similar seminars in Philadelphia on May 8 and in Atlanta on May 10. If you are in one of those areas, kindly plan to attend what should be another informative and highly interactive event.

*** Video: Harvard Business School shores up security and saves moneyWatch now.

This will make the MBA candidates coming out of Harvard Business School happy: When the school shored up security through a number of means, it ended up saving $220,000 a year in bandwidth charges. John Arsneault, director of network operations at HBS, explains how on this edition of Voices from IT Roadmap.

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