Hitting the accelerator

Blue Coat: Accessing applications over WANs should be a faster business.

Tags: Blue Coat Systems IncorporatedUnited Arab EmiratesWAN
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Hitting the accelerator I think the approach we have is not a network approach per se, it is more of an application approach. - Yogi Chandiramani, senior director EMEA systems engineer at Blue Coat.
By  Julian Pletts Published  October 4, 2009 Network Middle East Logo

The question of whether application delivery is a worthwhile investment right now is null and void in Yogi Chandiramani’s eyes. The senior director EMEA systems engineer at Blue Coat claims that looking at the vendor’s Application Delivery Network (ADN) is a cheaper alternative than upgrading network infrastructure to improve efficiency of applications being used on the WAN.

The Middle East, he suggests, is a “recipe’” for the need for application delivery.

Firstly, Chandiramani states that the cost of bandwidth in this region is relatively high. And secondly, that geographical factors make for serious problems with traffic latency.

“I was speaking with my team in Saudi Arabia and the latency within the country itself, from one city to another, is around 30 milliseconds to 50 milliseconds,” he said.

”Which is considerable when you look at applications that require a lot of transfers and acknowledgement, or online services or email or even a transaction based application, being a database or whatever,”

It may well be the case that latency as a result of physical parameters cannot be improved, it is after all a matter of physics, but is that enough of a reason to invest in application delivery to improve applications availability over the WAN? Would the investment be less relevant if bandwidth cost fell, as some suggest it might, in the future? Chandiramani thinks not.

“Latency is always going to exist, but so will the requirement from users to be able to use applications as if they are on the LAN which requires acceleration technology,” he said.

“Even if the bandwidth cost is reduced, latency would not because that is the law of physics and you will still need applications to work properly. And what’s more, businesses are deploying more and more applications and adding more stress on the network.”

According to Blue Coat the benefits of implementing the ADN are threefold. To begin with Chandiramani explains that application visability is perhaps the most significant improvement gained after the ADN goes live.

“It allows [the CIO] to get the visibility of the infrastructure, in other words, see the applications in the same way the user is experiencing them and providing the metrics to the network management team so they can make the right decisions in terms of capacity planning, bandwidth management and maintaining quality of service.”

Chandiramani points out that the visability of solution will also ensure CIOs are able to better discern critical applications from those that are less so and therefore apportion resources accordingly.

Acceleration is the second reason that Chandiramani upholds as why to opt for the ADN. And the final element of attraction, and what Blue Coat describes as the ADN’s “key differentiator” , is security.  The secure web gateway aspect of the ADN offers layered defense that includes URL filtering, central policy management and the WebPulse cloud defense that secures against malware attacks. It is perhaps unclear though, as to whether Middle East enterprise organisations would prefer to go with specialist security outfits.

Blue Coat, though having recently reported positive financial results, traditionally falls behind the likes of Cisco and Juniper in the market place. So what does Chandiramani have to say about how the ADN stands up to competitive offerings?

“I think the approach we have is not a network approach per se, it is more of an application approach. Saying that though, it is not about upgrading the network, that is not necessarily going to solve the problem, but what we need to look at is how we can optimise the applications and how we can work efficiently on the network that the IT manager has already invested in,” argued Chandiramani.

“Going with other vendors in the market, it would have to be different point solutions that are brought together but that do not really communicate with each other very well.“

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