Modern businesses heavily rely on networks for many aspects of business, including linking computers, sharing data, making backups, running applications, running software, and accessing the Internet.
Optimizing these networks often means saving time, money, and considerable frustration across your teams, because an optimized network is faster, more secure, and better-able to meet the needs of its users.
If your organization’s networks are slowing down, frequently facing bottlenecks, or suffer from large latency issues, it’s easy to assume that you need more bandwidth, but the alternative is often simply optimizing how traffic is managed over the network.
While your optimization efforts will vary considerably depending on if you’re operating legacy networks are in the process of setting up something new, there are plenty of steps you can take to optimize business WAN and LAN.
WAN and LAN used to be completely separate networks. Today, that is less the case, as many organizations move to cloud applications, virtual computing, and virtual networks. The result can be that your LAN actually operates on your WAN as a virtual network. This means that cloud management and cloud optimization must be considered if you want to improve your Local Area Network.
What is cloud management? In most cases, it means having options to control data, traffic, and data allocation across your Wide Area Network, complete with automation to redirect traffic, manage security issues, and manage users to reallocate resources based on needs.
Good traffic management is essential for both WAN and LAN, but implementation typically requires a mix of hardware and software solutions. Traffic encompasses all data sent and shared over your network, including users and data. In most cases, optimization remains similar for LAN and WAN, because the tools are the same.
Here, your organization would likely benefit from central management with monitoring, testing, baseline monitoring and automated triggers, and needs mapping over time. This will help you to get the most out of your existing infrastructure while mapping problem areas, reducing issues by automatically rerouting or changing requests, and automatically flagging issues for human review.
Each of these tools should be rolled into a good Server OS, and into your network management tools. Utilizing and properly configuring them is crucial to optimizing your networks. Of course, there are many other tools you can use here, like WAN buffering, TCP termination, and application protocol optimization to spoof
While software and firmware issues, including poor traffic management, are often the culprit behind poor network performance, hardware is important as well.
Issues here may relate to the age of your physical server, the physical structure of your network, and any impediments on that structure. One SpiceWorks survey showed that over 98% of companies maintain servers on premises, and 35% think they need an upgrade.
Here, you want to map traffic over your network to identify possible bottlenecks, inefficiencies in network structure, latency issues, areas generating high traffic, etc. You may also want to look at the age of physical hardware including servers, optimizers, etc.
Hardware LAN and WAN optimizers are increasingly popular because they provide “Always On” optimization. In most cases, the WAN optimizer sits inside the LAN, automatically optimizing outgoing traffic for the WAN using compression, database results, etc.
Many organizations install legacy software and operating systems and then retain those systems until the hardware powering it dies. But, updating and optimizing software can greatly improve network performance, and often at a fraction of the cost of implementing actual hardware updates.
Most organizations can dramatically improve network performance by optimizing WAN and LAN networks, allowing greater network loads, faster data transfer, and making room for a better network experience, without adding on bandwidth.
In some cases, this will mean rerouting physical network architecture, in others, it’s a simple matter of reconfiguring existing software to implement tools you already have. And, if your network remains overloaded after optimization, you may want to increase bandwidth.
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Virtual servers and databases are quickly becoming the norm for organizations, because they offer reduced costs in terms of management, hardware, and infrastructure. If you’re considering implementation, run a cost analysis and needs analysis to determine if cloud is right for you. In most cases, a managed services provider should offer these services for free, although typically as part of a larger implementation, with the intent of eventually installing a solution.