No business can justify the cost of a hardware wide area network (WAN) optimizer to accelerate traffic for one road warrior or small office/home office (SOHO). But when the need for speed can make or break your business, WAN optimization software succeeds where hardware proves impractical.
Adding to the growing list of software WAN optimization products is a new solution from Ipanema Technologies: Ipanema Mobile Agent (IMA). This product spotlight article highlights why Ipanema Technologies' IMA matters to WAN managers and how it compares to other solutions in the software WAN optimization market.
What is Ipanema's software WAN optimization solution?
The Ipanema Mobile Agent (IMA) is a software agent for Windows desktops and laptops that brings Ipanema’s Autonomic Networking System (ANS) to mobile and SOHO users. Peter Schmidt, Ipanema Technologies' CTO for North America, describes ANS as a self-healing and self-correcting network system facilitated by their carrier-class central management software: IMSS for enterprises and SALSA for service providers. Because they offer carrier-grade technology, most of Ipanema Technologies customers are telecoms and managed service providers.
In an Ipanema network, the IMA, central appliances and telemanagement features work in tandem to deliver visibility, control and acceleration to each user. “Proxy agents are automatically set up in central appliances and collaborate with active IMAs to provide application classification, QoS and control and WAN optimization. Our WAN optimization techniques include compression, caching and protocol acceleration," Schmidt explains. “This central management platform orchestrates the system and produces detailed reports on usage and performance," says Schmidt.
Why does Ipanema Technologies' IMA matter to WAN managers?
In the aftermath of an obliterated workforce, businesses have been hiring part-time and remote employees. According to Andre Kindness, senior analyst at Forrester Research, companies are asking new- or re-hires to work from home using their own equipment. According to Kindness, this trend will continue, as organizations continue to shift toward a more mobile workforce year over year.
Joe Skorupa, Gartner's research vice president, agrees. "We have an increasingly mobile workforce, and because of this, one of the things we're seeing now is traffic from multiple locations all going to a single location [which creates] more complex traffic flows," says Skorupa.
Current software WAN optimization solutions cannot manage these traffic flows. However, Ipanema has done something the other vendors haven’t done, according to Skorupa. "Ipanema can coordinate the amount of bandwidth per application across to multiple end users so that you can get predictable performance for the critical applications and you coordinate access across multiple clients. That's something that the other vendors haven't done," Skorupa explains.
How does Ipanema Technologies' WAN optimization solution compare?
Deduplication is a WAN bandwidth optimization technology that has not been successfully deployed in software WAN optimization solutions from other vendors. The level of optimization provided by Ipanema Technologies' IMA is also ideal for end users accessing cloud-based applications.
"When you have an appliance, the deduplication cache is shared across all of the other people in that office.… With client software, at this point, no one has delivered anything where that cache is shared," explains Skorupa.
Obviously, lone road warriors or mobile workers don't have traffic competition, but small remote offices with 2-5 workers do. ”Being able to coordinate that traffic so that the critical applications work across all of the people -- that's a real differentiator, and it's certainly very valuable," says Skorupa.
Ipanema Technologies' IMA availability, pricing, future
IMA has been on the shelves since November 18, 2010. The software client is sold in packs of 10 for $2,600 a pack. Although the solution is only compatible with Windows today, other operating systems are forecasted in further releases, including tablets and smartphones.
In 2011, Ipanema will release an upgrade to this software-based product and will include full, dynamic QoS, control and measurement capabilities existing in today's Ipanema Technologies hardware appliances. Although the current offering will work on an existing Ipanema-equipped network, later iterations will allow IMAs to be the Ipanema network.
"You wouldn't necessarily need to have our hardware appliances in your data center if you had a fully meshed model with no data center, and you used P2P," explains Schmidt.
Sales projections of IMA make up 35% of Ipanema's customer base in 2011 and up to 70% in 2013. "We really believe that user-centric features like mobile agents will become more and more important in the coming years,” says Schmidt. “We will continue to invest very significant R&D efforts to continue to innovate in new features and deployments for such agents."