Case Studies

WAN Optimization Helps Businesses Work Faster and Smarter

Whether it’s to connect more efficiently with workers in remote offices or out in the field, corporate IT managers say optimization more than pays for itself.
WAN Optimization Helps Businesses Work Faster and Smarter
Credit: iStockPhoto/ThinkStockPhotos

As an IT manager and hard-boiled New Yorker, Dan Dorato, chief technology officer of Vector Media, doesn’t easily buy into marketing hype.

But Dorato’s experience with the WAN optimization features in the Cisco Meraki MX Series Cloud Managed Security Appliance turned him around forever. Last fall, he and his staff deployed eight routers in the company’s New York headquarters and five remote offices — a mix of Cisco Meraki MX60, MX80 and MX90 devices — in just 15 minutes.

The speedy implementation caught the CTO by surprise. “The deployment was simple, straightforward and effective,” Dorato says. “The cloud-based model is also a big plus, because all the networking information sits on a dashboard on a web page.”

WAN Optimization Pays for Itself

Dorato says the optimization and caching features of the routers have paid for themselves in less than a year. Vector Media’s employees need to access and transmit large graphics files as part of their daily work for the media solutions firm. Before the company deployed the Cisco MX routers, file transfers of large, 100-megabyte files could take up to an hour. In many cases, the staff had to resort to shipping flash drives overnight because the network was so slow.

Compressing the traffic can shrink 10MB files to 8MB, and 200MB Excel spreadsheets by 80 percent. In addition, with caching enabled, only the portion of a file that has been changed travels over the network. The rest resides in cache memory on the MX device.

According to Dorato, the results have been extraordinary. File transfers that previously took an hour to complete now take only a few minutes. What’s more, Vector Media has been able to downgrade its Internet connections at remote locations, saving thousands of dollars. For example, the Miami office was spending $1,200 per month for a 45-megabit-per-second Internet connection. The IT staff replaced it with a 20Mbps connection from the local cable provider that costs about $200 per month, for a savings of $12,000 per year.

“Translate that savings across all the remote offices and headquarters, and you see how the devices and software licenses have paid for themselves,” Dorato says. “By improving our file transfer speeds, our remote offices can communicate more easily with headquarters and one another.”

Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, says Vector Media took advantage of the traditional benefits of WAN optimization.

“Vector Media had a known and well-defined problem, so they used the optimization and caching features to their advantage,” Laliberte says. “The application of the optimization technology was so successful that they were able to dramatically improve business processes while simultaneously throttling down the bandwidth. This let them generate a strong ROI in a very short timeframe.”

53%

The percentage of survey respondents who say that the quality of the end-user experience is the leading indicator for evaluating WAN performance

SOURCE: “Five Key Trends in WAN Optimization” (TRAC Research, September 2012)

Optimizing Traffic for Mobile Users

Architecture firm Ware Malcomb resembles Vector Media in that its users work with very large graphics files. IT Director Moses Gonzales says it’s not unusual for engineers and designers to transmit 300MB Adobe Photoshop files to and from the company’s headquarters in Irvine, Calif., and its 12 locations around the world. In fact, he says 90 percent of the company’s traffic consists of Photoshop or 3D CAD models.

Many of the company’s employees work in the field on commercial job sites, so delivering fast access to files had become increasingly important over the past several years. Ware Malcomb turned to the Riverbed Steelhead Mobile device to optimize traffic for mobile users. Gonzales says the unit simply plugs into a standard Riverbed Steelhead controller, and users access the optimized network through a VPN.

“The idea is to provide faster access to users in our remote offices, as well as people in the field,” says Gonzales. “Today, more than half of our workforce works remotely or out in the field. Files that used to take more than a minute to access over the network now take seconds. It’s made a big difference.”

Sign up for our e-newsletter

About the Author

Steve Zurier

Steve has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 20 of which were spent covering technology. He has covered networking and telecommunications in corporate computing, government and small business environments.

Follow him on Google+ and Twitter:

Security

Three Ways to Integrate Fire... |
Follow these tips to align the devices with log management and incident tracking systems.
Why Cloud Security Is More E... |
Cloud protection services enable companies to keep up with security threats while...
Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...

Storage

The New Backup Utility Proce... |
Just getting used to the Windows 8 workflow? Prepare for a change.
How to Perform Traditional W... |
With previous versions going unused, Microsoft radically reimagined the backup utility in...
5 Easy Ways to Build a Bette... |
While large enterprises have the resources of an entire IT department behind them, these...

Infrastructure Optimization

Why Cloud Security Is More E... |
Cloud protection services enable companies to keep up with security threats while...
Ensure Uptime Is in Your Dat... |
Power and cooling solutions support disaster recovery and create cost savings and...
The Value of Converged Infra... |
Improvements in security, management and efficiency are just a few of the benefits CI can...

Networking

Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...
How to Maximize WAN Bandwidt... |
Understand six common problems that plague wide area networks — and how to address them.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Mobile & Wireless

Now that Office for iPad Is... |
After waiting awhile for Microsoft’s productivity suite to arrive, professionals who use...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Hardware & Software

New Challenges in Software M... |
IT trends such as cloud, virtualization and BYOD pose serious hurdles for software...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.
The Tools That Power Busines... |
Ever-evolving analytic software can greatly improve financial institutions’ decision-...