Network World's Application Acceleration across the WAN online forum last week brought out myriad vendors, responding to network managers' concerns about investing in optimization technologies.Customers that logged in to the forum anonymously inquired about current and future developments among vendors, worrying that today's investments could become irrelevant in the near future. Considering the relative immaturity of the market and recent acquisitions, customers admitted their concern about buying tools available today in a market that will inevitably change."Some of the applications that are WAN-hostile (MAPI and SQL), or at least difficult (CIFS and NFS), are being fixed or replaced," one forum member said. "Will we see partnerships between application vendors and accelerator vendors, interoperability between vendors, standards, or will they just disappear as the technology moves into the routers and servers?"Another pain point for customers involved the financial and management burden of deploying multiple best-of-breed boxes at numerous distributed locations. Customers asked if vendors would work on a consolidated set of tools and start to incorporate software into their offerings."We have 12 locations, 11 remote. At each location, there is a very small amount of files, say under 20 Excel, Word, etc, which we would like to have quick access to from any location to view or edit," another man explained. "We only have one or two users at each location so having to buy a box for each location becomes expensive."Another network professional urged vendors to provide acceleration capabilities to home office, mobile or VPN-connected end users."I am able to get great bandwidth optimization\/traffic acceleration for my network users from site to site, but the remote users who work from home and connect over a VPN, get none of these gains," the woman detailed. "It's all pass-through traffic on these devices since there is no corresponding device\/tool on the VPN users' side to decompress the traffic."Check out the forum to read more customer concerns and vendor responses or raise your own issues.