For many organizations, the wide area network (WAN) infrastructure that connects an enterprise’s remote and branch offices has not changed for decades. Over the years, organizations consolidated many regional data centers into a few highly available data center locations which meant that remote locations had to connect to centralized applications over WANs and all internet traffic went through these data centers as well. This introduced bandwidth constraints and latency issues. The development in WAN optimization provided incremental and measurable improvement in WAN performance and provided some bandwidth cost containment. However, that technology typically was only deployed at the most problematic sites that struggled to achieve acceptable levels of performance and user experience. It did not solve all the issues with WAN connectivity.
WAN infrastructure planning was limited to increases in capacity that were met by provisioning additional carrier MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) network capacity. This was a slow process, connections were costly, and visibility and control over traffic was lacking.
With the increased adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), the nature of application usage and related data center usage is changing at a rapid pace, and traditional methods for meeting networking needs are neither cost-effective nor responsive enough to meet business needs. Today’s network users seek a better solution for connecting to their business-critical applications.