In our last newsletter, we mentioned a discussion that Jim led at Network World's IT Roadmap seminar in Boston last week (the show arrives in Chicago on June 27). That discussion was on the topic of the appropriate layer in the OSI stack to implement network and application acceleration techniques.As we discussed in the last newsletter, some companies advocate implementing network and applications acceleration techniques at Layer 3, in part because this reduces the need to implement multiple techniques, thereby reducing complexity.However, techniques applied at Layer 3 might not accelerate a specific application such as SAP as much as a technique that was focused just on accelerating SAP. Hence, an effective argument can be made that if your company runs its business on one or two key applications, such as SAP or Oracle, then you are doing your company and your career a favor by implementing acceleration techniques that focus on accelerating just those two applications.There is no absolute right or wrong answer to the question of the appropriate layer to implement network and application acceleration techniques. In order to answer that question, IT organizations have to start by determining what problems they are trying to solve. Is it just the performance of one or two key applications, or does it also include issues such as consolidating servers into centralized data centers or transmitting huge files over long distances?It is also helpful to understand just how well the alternate network and application techniques work. For example, it might not be worth implementing a technique just to accelerate SAP if there will not be much of a performance gain over what is possible with a Layer 3 solution. However, if there is a truly notable performance gain, then it might well be worth implementing a technique that is just focused on one or two key applications.In future newsletters we will explore some of the other discussions that we had at the IT Roadmap seminar in Boston, both relative to network and application acceleration as well as network management.