WAN Acceleration on the Back Burner? Time to Move It Up

In our last blog we talked about the benefits of adding WAN acceleration into a network to accelerate and improve application performance. What I’ve observed from talking with others in the industry is most IT administrators understand the benefits of adding WAN acceleration. However because of deployment costs, ongoing maintenance and/or security concerns around how to deploy WAN acceleration solutions, some IT organizations are just abandoning or always placing those projects on the proverbial back burner.

Initial POC or deployment can be a major issue to deal with as IT would need to determine how to physically put the WAN acceleration device in place on the network to ensure it can improve application performance, then determine which traffic type should be routed to it for acceleration, all while not breaking or interrupting business critical applications. I guess one other option could be to put the acceleration device inline and route all network traffic through it, but that would include traffic that cannot be accelerated.

Then there’s the matter of learning the management interface of a new product. This will take time to ensure the IT staff is trained up and understands all the complex configuration options available within the acceleration solution. From there the challenge will be not only dealing with the deployment and management at the headquarter location, but what about all the remote offices? For those, someone from the IT group will have to not only do the initial setup, but also provide some level of ongoing management and monitoring. For a small deployment this may not be an issue, but for larger deployments this could become complex. There may be options to provide central management, but that would involve setting up yet another console, which may have its own set of complexities or limitations.

Finally, there’s the security aspect of adding WAN acceleration. If the customer is leveraging VPN within a next-generation Firewall (NGFW), where do you put the acceleration device? If you decide you want to put the device outside the VPN termination point, then no acceleration can happen because the traffic is encrypted and for all practical purposes cannot be accelerated. The other option is to put the acceleration device behind the NGFW/VPN combination, however this causes issues because the traffic that is being accelerated will not be able to be scanned for threats by the NGFW. This again becomes another headache for the IT administrators to deal with or think about addressing before a WAN acceleration solution can be introduced into a network.

The combined solution of the  SonicWall WAN Acceleration (WXA) and  SonicWall Next-Generation Firewall can help reduce the complexity of initial deployment, ongoing management and security of introducing WAN acceleration into a network environment. Integrated as part of SonicOS operating system, the WXA management is done through the same web UI, so all of the security, VPN and acceleration features can be controlled from the same management interface. For customers that have multiple offices, consolidated management is possible using the SonicWall Global Management System for environments that have deployed multiple firewalls and WXA appliances.

Network provisioning of the WXA is less complex as one of the firewall interfaces is dedicated specifically for the WXA appliance. Auto-provisioning reduces the complexity of initial deployment and ongoing management of the WXA solution. Traffic controls on the firewall ensure that only traffic that can be accelerated is sent over to the WXA to be accelerated.

Finally, since the WXA is integrated as part of the SonicWall NGFW, traffic that is sent between offices or destined to be cached is scanned by the  SonicWall Deep Packet Inspection engine which includes intrusion prevention, anti-malware scanning detection and prevention ensuring a higher level of security. Leveraging the SonicWall WXA/NFGW combination can help ensure an easier deployment, lowering ongoing maintenance cost without sacrificing security.

To learn more about the benefits of WAN acceleration and how SonicWall WXA series solutions can help you achieve them, read our eBook titled “10 ways to securely optimize your network.”

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SonicWall Staff
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