The benefits of thinking strategic when deploying network optimization

* Lesson learned from IT Roadmap

Jim moderated the network and application optimization track at Network World’s IT Roadmap seminar in San Francisco at the end of last month. Four leading vendors in that technology space also gave presentations. While there were some differences in what the four were advocating, there also were some points of commonality.

One such point was relative to the tactical vs. strategic deployment of network and application optimization solutions. As a point of reference, to date most of the deployment has been tactical, meaning that IT organizations have tended to deploy a somewhat simple solution to solve narrowly defined business problems. An example of this is an IT organization that deploys an appliance that only does compression on both ends of a single WAN link, perhaps between its U.S. headquarters and its software development partner in India. The issue being addressed by this solution is to enable massive file transfers between the two sites without having to acquire expensive bandwidth.

During their presentations each of the vendors stated their belief that IT organizations needed to move away from deploying tactical solutions to strategic ones. We actually buy off on the advice – at least to a point. To put this in context, a CIO of an engineering company recently told us that his organization had originally deployed a network and application optimization solution to solve a particular problem – to eliminate having redundant copies of files in each of the organization’s offices.

He pointed out that he was quite delighted at how much additional value the solution has been providing and his organization now intends to migrate away from tape backup and towards sending files over the WAN to a central site for backup. The CIO believes that the additional functionality will enable his organization to backup their files over the network and avoid costly WAN upgrades.

The reality is that this story is somewhat common. In particular, companies frequently deploy a network and application optimization solution in a tactical fashion and later begin to deploy it more strategically.

Next time, we’ll discuss how the attendees at the seminar responded to the vendor’s encouragement to deploy strategic solutions.

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