The three components of application delivery according to Cisco

* Cisco’s take on application delivery

This is the second in a series of newsletters summarizing the two seminars that Network World recently produced, and Jim moderated, on the topic of network and application optimization. During Jim’s keynote, he emphasized that network and application optimization is part of a broader topic of application delivery.

This is the second in a series of newsletters summarizing the two seminars that Network World recently produced, and Jim moderated, on the topic of network and application optimization. During Jim’s keynote, he emphasized that network and application optimization is part of a broader topic of application delivery.

A speaker from Cisco said that application delivery is comprised of three components: WAN optimization, the goal to provide LAN-like performance for applications delivered to the branch office over the WAN; application switching, the goal to optimize server security and availability; and storage-area network optimization, the goal to optimize storage.

The Cisco speaker said the three components should be planned holistically. It is difficult to argue against the virtue of holistic planning, however given that most IT organizations function in technology silos, holistic planning is usually the exception and not the rule.

To get a better perspective, Jim asked the seminar attendees about the responsibilities of the organization in which they worked. Jim was surprised that more than half indicated that their organization was responsible for all three components. That doesn’t mean that IT organizations plan holistically for these components but that some of the organizational boundaries that previously limited holistic planning may be going away.

The Cisco speaker focused on the transparency of the company’s WAN optimization solution and stated that since its method did not use tunnels, its solution did not necessitate changing clients, applications or firewalls, unlike the solutions from the majority of other vendors, the speaker claimed. As you might guess, that sparked a discussion among the vendors at the seminars. The speaker from Juniper discussed how you could implement tunnels and still expose sufficient information for the network to continue to function normally. The speaker from F5 stated his belief that there have been instances in which the equipment from each of the seminar-sponsoring vendors was deployed and caused something to break.

The bottom line is that IT organizations analyzing WAN optimization need to consider transparency. IT organizations need to understand what each vendor is saying about transparency and to test the degree to which these solutions are transparent.

Next time, we’ll describe what Juniper 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.

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