The future of network optimization

* Looking for input on key trends, directions

It's a challenge deciding what to write about each week in this newsletter - but not because it's hard to find material. Quite the opposite. Every time I turn around there's a new product launch, or a partnership, or a start-up with a new optimization angle. There's so much activity in the network optimization arena, choosing just a couple of items each week is tough.

Not that I’m complaining. Having a dynamic, growing market to watch makes life interesting. But I’m aware that I lack the perspective of someone who’s actually installing or purchasing application delivery platforms or WAN optimization appliances. That’s why I always welcome the opportunity to talk to IT executives who use this gear. In particular, I could really use the input of IT pros for a project I’m currently working on.

The project is about the future of network optimization.

I’m trying to identify the trends that are most significant in the world of application acceleration and WAN optimization (Compare Application Acceleration and WAN Traffic Optimization products), as well as opportunities for improvement. So I thought I’d toss out some questions to my newsletter audience. Any and all comments are welcome, from IT executives, vendors, industry watchers and casual readers. For anyone who decides to reply, thanks in advance for taking the time to contribute. 

Here are some questions to ponder:

* Vendors have been making it possible for companies to add features such as DNS, DHCP and print serving to WAN appliances deployed at the branch. Why is this important? What would you like to see bundled next?

* Are client-based WAN optimization technologies on your radar? Why or why not?

* Do you want to see content-delivery features built into WAN optimization gear? What’s driving this trend?

* Is your team responsible for meeting application-specific SLAs? Or do you expect to be in the future? Do you have the tools to make those sorts of guarantees? If not, what’s missing?

* How have hosted applications (SaaS), composite applications (SOA) and Web 2.0 applications changed optimization strategies? Do these kinds of applications complicate traditional acceleration tactics?

* How do existing management features hold up? Do you wish for greater manageability of WAN appliances?

* What developments in WAN optimization do you think are most important? What features are you holding your breath for?

Please send your thoughts my way. You can answer just one question or answer them all. Or send your ideas about something I didn’t even ask about. It’s open season.

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