How are you optimizing your branch-office WAN?

* The gap in branch-office functionality

Until recently, the conventional wisdom was that branch offices were going away. For example, the banking industry looked at branch offices as expensive and un-necessary, and believed that many of them would soon be replaced by automated teller machines.

The fact that there are now roughly 4 million branch offices in the U.S. shows that these small workplaces are not disappearing. Businesses still view branch offices as expensive, but also as being important touch points with their customers. Research conducted by Kubernan, an analyst and consulting joint-venture between Steve and Jim, indicates that companies are looking to fully leverage this touch point by deploying business applications, such as customer relationship management software, out to branch offices.

One issue that increases the cost of branch-office networking is that many applications are written to perform well when they run over a LAN. However, these same applications can perform poorly when they are run over the branch-office WAN.

Historically, companies have attempted to solve this problem by merely increasing the capacity of the branch-office network. Today there are WAN-optimization techniques such as compression, caching and TCP rate control.

However, there appears to be a gap between how likely it is that a company is deploying applications such as CRM out to branch offices and how likely it is to be deploying WAN optimization on the branch-office WAN. We would like to hear from you. If you have deployed WAN optimization techniques, how did it go? If you have not deployed these techniques, why not? We will gather your comments and experiences, and discuss them in a forthcoming newsletter, where we will also add our analysis of the various WAN-optimization methods.


Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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