• United States
Senior Editor

Beyond network traffic management

Aug 31, 20042 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Analyst firm says traffic management should center on applications

A recent report by Portland, Ore. application performance management gurus APM Advisors says network traffic management products should be used tactically, sparingly and as an “easy way out.”

Network traffic management (NTM) involves compression, TCP optimization, network optimization and QoS or prioritization, according to this paper. Typically, network traffic management products use an appliance installed in a customer data center that compresses and manages traffic flows to improve application performance based on network bandwidth constraints. APM Advisors says NTM is a short-term fix to a long-term problem.

“Currently the bandwidth demand problem and the immediate relief from pain is driving the acceptance of NTM, but over the long term, this short term gratification will be at best, the easy way out,” the report states. The technology identifies patterns in bits and packets, and compresses the data to speed delivery of application traffic, but APM Advisors questions the ability of the technology and the products using it to work in a large-scale distributed network.

“While NTM solutions have their role in networks, they are not infrastructure for the majority of large, distributed networks,” APM Advisors says.

The solution to NTM’s scalability limitation is application traffic management, the firm says. While compression will still serve a valuable purpose, the research firm believes it should be an extension of the application and not the network to ensure “operational continuity” for applications.

“To have continuity across a system, there has to be a common definition structure and the means to distribute rules across all infrastructure resources,” the report states.

The alternative is based on the firm’s position that Web Network Architecture (WNA) needs to be in place and that it needs to take advantage of policy, HTTP compression, application cache and QoS and prioritization technologies. The products exist separately today, but APM Advisors says they need to come together as a cohesive whole to provide the application continuity across systems that is needed to optimize performance.

“All of the components needed to deliver on the WNA model are available, but the consolidation of functions and coordinated policy will develop over time,” the report states.

Read this most recent latest traffic management report yourself at:

To add your insight and/or comments on traffic management products, vendors or technology, e-mail