Andy Gottlieb, CEO of Talari Networks (, says:

Why WAN Virtualization is useful in the data center.

The question of how enterprise end users can access the applications running in the data center, and do so cost effectively and reliably, given the ever increasing bandwidth demands that many of today’s media-rich applications have is one of the biggest bottlenecks IT managers face. MPLS is a reliable but very expensive way to access enterprise data centers. The price per bit for Frame Relay and MPLS service has barely come down over the years, and today seems to be coming down 10% – 15% per year, while the price of public Internet connectivity, which is a small fraction of the price/bit of MPLS already, is coming down 40% per year. By doing for WANs what RAID did for storage, WAN Virtualization enables data center managers to cost effectively solve the problems of limited bandwidth and high WAN prices while also delivering better application performance predictability.

How data center/IT managers can benefit from WAN Virtualization.

By enabling IT managers to simultaneously add bandwidth and reduce monthly WAN spend while simultaneously increasing network availability and application performance predictability, WAN Virtualization makes it affordable for businesses to deploy virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs), VoIP, streaming video, private clouds and other modern technologies that support today’s remote office/telecommuter environment. Businesses can increase bandwidth in different areas and view ethernet pricing comparison to see if WAN Virtualization works, or which option works best for them. The increased application performance predictability that WAN Virtualization’s sub-second response to not just link failures but also congestion related network events means less time troubleshooting the portion of the end user experience that has historically the most difficult for IT managers to control or even troubleshoot.

Advice for data center/IT managers that are making a WAN Virtualization purchase decision.

If cutting WAN costs not an issue, if adding bandwidth in the next 12 – 18 months not an issue, and if reliability and application performance predictability aren’t an issue, then don’t waste your time looking into WAN Virtualization technology! But even where none of these is an emergency need for some data center managers, over a one to two year time period, pretty much every data center manager will need to add bandwidth, and most enterprises can always benefit from reducing spending and delivering more reliability and predictability.

The particularly nice part about most WAN Virtualization solutions for data center managers is that they can pay for themselves out of monthly MPLS spending, rather than needing to compete for the same budget for data center equipment.

A less well understood benefit of WAN Virtualization technology is that it offers a very nice “virtuous cycle” for those data center managers looking to move more of their servers and services to colocation facilities. While carrier-neutral colocation facilities are widely used today for public-facing web applications, and increasingly for Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery for enterprises, they are less often used for internal applications. Whether your enterprise is looking to move quickly to public cloud computing, or simply looking at building private clouds, WAN Virtualization in conjunction with existing server virtualization and WAN Optimization technology makes a move to colocation much more valuable. Colocation facilities offer essentially unlimited amounts of very inexpensive Internet bandwidth – $5 per Mbps per month for Gigabit Ethernet links is not uncommon. Combining WAN Virtualization’s ability to make that colo-based Internet bandwidth reliable enough for enterprise applications with the small physical footprint that server virtualization offers and the application acceleration benefits of WAN Optimization offers data center managers a blueprint to cost effective data center consolidation and ability to support a smooth migration to cloud computing.