Any good tool requires its builders to cycle from circumstances (necessity), to conceptualization and creation (invention), before they can explore those developmental processes that kick-start innovation and growth. Software and hardware are no different in this regard. Even when tools are short-lived and quickly replaced or retired, they often serve as a basis or foundation for future developments. WAN optimization tools borrow tips, tricks, and techniques from many other disciplines that are not unique to WAN solutions. Even so, WAN optimization solutions usually combine multiple approaches and algorithms, some disjoint and independent, others interrelated and interdependent, into a single framework designed to enhance WAN performance.
Outmoded legacy applications and protocols also guide us to better designs, in part by serving as base references for inspiration and new implementations. Likewise, tried and true optimization techniques from areas as diverse as operating systems and databases also play a role in inspiring and informing WAN optimization tools and technologies. Although WAN optimization draws its ideas and techniques from many different computing disciplines, it uses them in its own interesting and specific ways to reduce the amount of data that must traverse WAN links, the frequency at which such traversals must occur, and the kinds of communications and protocols used to communicate across them.
If you perceive earlier network protocols as having grandfathered a newer generation of performance-enhancing network processes, protocols, and procedures you already have a good grasp on where WAN optimization is headed. You might also notice that steady, incremental improvements have also helped to optimize routing behaviors in an ever-increasing number of ways. This lets all of us understand that the motivation behind improving network performance remains the same, even when the modus operandi changes. From the broadest possible perspective, then, WAN optimization is just one class of tools available to designers and managers to help them make the most of their networks.
WAN OPTIMIZATION TOOLS, TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGIES
WAN optimization basics
WAN optimization techniques
State-of-the-art acceleration techniques
WAN technologies summarized
About the author:
Ed Tittel is a 24-year computing industry veteran who has worked as a software developer, systems engineer, trainer, and manager. He has also contributed to more than 100 computer trade books, including several college textbooks, and writes regularly for TechTarget, Tom's Hardware, and TechBuilder.org. Perhaps best known for creating the Exam Cram series of IT certification prep books in 1997, Ed also received the Best Networking Professional Career Achievement Award from the NPA in 2004, and has been a finalist in the "Favorite Study Guide Author" category in the CertCities.com Annual Reader's Choice Awards every year since those awards were launched in 2002.
This was first published in December 2008