WAN shopping checklist

A checklist when shopping for wide-area network (WAN) products.

Before getting sidetracked by throughput, beware some of the potential pitfalls of buying a wide-area network (WAN) optimization product that you haven't tested thoroughly.

Scalability: As your WAN traffic grows, how scalable is the optimization appliance? How costly and difficult is it to scale? How many protocols does the appliance handle?

Security: How does the vendor secure its appliance? Does your WAN optimizer need to accelerate Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)-encrypted traffic?

Backing up the box: Do you need a redundant device in your main data center? What happens if a box fails?

Visibility: What level of performance is the WAN optimization box delivering during different times of day, for different applications and to how many users? In other words, how is the remote-office user experience?

In the next few months, you're likely to hear plenty of new product news from WAN optimization vendors. Here are some things to look for, but you'll need to determine where they fall on your priority list.

  • Broader lineup of appliances from low-cost entry models to high-end clusters
  • Additional protocol-acceleration options
  • Bigger boxes to handle larger data streams
  • Acceleration software on-demand, accessed through a virtual private network (VPN) for remote users
  • Enhanced deduplication
  • Acceleration of Secure Sockets Layer traffic across the WAN
  • Speedier delivery of voice and video traffic
  • Material used in this article originally appeared in Storage magazine.

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