Virtualization driving interest in WAN optimization

IT leaders surveyed by Expand Networks said WAN optimization technology can help virtualization projects succeed

New survey results point to virtualization as a key driver for WAN optimization deployments.

A big thanks to those readers who have shared their predictions for WAN optimization in 2010. Beginning with the first newsletters of the year, I’ll start publishing those predictions (and if you haven’t sent me your ideas, there’s still time).

Meanwhile, some new survey results provide a glimpse of some of the issues facing enterprise IT teams today and in the coming year. In particular, the research points to virtualization as a key driver for WAN optimization technology.

In its survey of a group of IT decision-makers, Expand Networks found 75% had deployed, or planned to deploy some form of virtualization in the next 12 months. Two-thirds of those IT leaders said WAN optimization technology can enable a successful virtualization project and high-performing virtualization environments.

In addition, a majority (85%) considered it important to deploy a virtual WAN optimization solution within a virtualized environment.

Server consolidation and virtualization projects often go hand in hand, as enterprise IT departments look to streamline and optimize their IT resources. In turn, these projects highlight a need for optimizing application delivery over the WAN.

An early proponent of the virtual appliance model, Expand has for some time touted the ability to deploy its WAN optimization technology as a virtual appliance in a company’s existing virtual IT infrastructure in the data center. Other vendors also offer similar virtual appliances. Certeon’s aCelera appliance, for instance, delivers WAN optimization and application acceleration capabilities in a software package that can be deployed on virtualized servers. Riverbed, too, just recently announced plans to deliver a virtual appliance version of its Steelhead gear for deployment in cloud computing environments.

Expand’s survey also found that nearly 60% of IT leaders surveyed are considering cloud computing to host data and applications. In addition, 76% would consider adopting a WAN optimization-as-a-service strategy if offered at a compelling price point, and 44% cited ongoing cost efficiency and reduction in OPEX as a key driver.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.