The WOC market is maturing rapidly, but remains dynamic with a high level of innovation from vendors. Organizations looking to acquire WOC capabilities should identify their specific needs and conduct reallife trials before committing to any purchase.
What You Need to Know
Optimization techniques for wide-area networks (WANs) can improve most organizations’ application response times, particularly where network latency is high, which is often due to centralization of servers and IT resources. Typically, WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) serve to prevent network latency having a severe impact on the performance of applications and underlying protocols. Through data reduction and prioritization techniques, WOCs can also help organizations avoid costly bandwidth upgrades.
The WOC market is rapidly maturing, but it is still dynamic with a high level of vendor innovation. This has led to different vendors offering different combinations of features. So, before choosing a vendor, ensure you understand the applications and services running on your network, and the protocols they use. Also conduct a detailed analysis of your network traffic to identify specific problems — for example, excessive latency, bandwidth oversubscription or lack of prioritization for certain types of traffic. Finally, insist on a real-life trial before committing to any purchase.
At present, WOC capabilities are delivered by dedicated equipment, usually purchased by the user organization. As the market develops, we expect to see increasing deployment of managed WAN optimization services, and some integration of WOC features into other network equipment such as routers. Our advice on standalone WOC equipment selection should therefore be considered in light of these anticipated changes in the market, and we recommend that selection is made on the basis of relatively short payback times (typically less than three years) and on current and nearterm product capabilities.