Are there any best practices for cutting the bandwidth costs of a wide area network (WAN)?

WAN, wide area file services (WAFS) and application optimization can all play a significant role in reducing your WAN bandwidth and utilization. They can reduce your latency, increase your performance and give you a ton of benefits in your WAN infrastructure. But realize that they are not a total panacea. You can't go out and replace your WAN circuits with the lowest bidder if you don't have sufficient service-level agreements (SLAs) for your organization.

You still need SLAs, you still need performance WAN circuits, you just may use less of your pipe, may have better performance across your WAN, and you may be able to downsize your circuits. But if it were my enterprise today, I would look at reusing some of those cost savings to even further optimize my WAN infrastructure and put in higher availability circuits.

WAFS is not a total panacea for all of your WAN infrastructure woes. Realize that one technology under the WAFS umbrella is typically not sufficient to meet every need in your enterprise. So don't approach your enterprise needs with just a WAN optimization approach if you're trying to replace or reduce the cost of your WAN circuits. So you need to look at all of your unique needs, including traditional enterprise applications, optimizations around those applications, the very chatty protocols, as well as just more general WAN and data transmission that can be optimized with LAN optimization.

Check out the entire FAQ guide.

This was first published in August 2008

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