Multinationals continue to invest heavily in Asia-Pacific leading to a growing number of remote offices, mobile workforce, and highly empowered regional operations that demand the same level of connectivity and speed as their head office counterparts. Similarly, Asian businesses have grown in scale to compete on the world stage.
This business landscape raises the challenge for CIOs and IT managers to ensure LAN-like application access and performance over WAN (wide area networks). More organisations today are beginning to realise the cost advantages of deploying WAN optimization tools to address issues such as limited bandwidth and inefficiencies in application performance.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (networksecurity.frost.com), Asia Pacific WAN Optimization Controller Market, finds that the market - covering 14 Asia-Pacific countries - earned revenues of US$204 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach US$844.7 million by end-2014, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 22.5 percent (2007-2014).
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"WAN optimization appliances address the three major problems associated with remote application performance – high latency, "chatty" protocols and low bandwidth availability. Solving these critical issues increases end-user application experience, resulting in higher employee productivity and retention," says Frost & Sullivan industry manager Arun Chandrasekaran.
Increasing enterprise mobility also poses significant challenges for organisations in terms of security and application access, especially in most ASEAN countries and emerging markets such as India where network congestion is not uncommon and high(er) bandwidth comes at a high cost.
Chandrasekaran says that WAN optimization offers substantial savings on operational expenditure by optimizing bandwidth usage and speeding-up application access. "With rising budgetary pressures, more organisations are realising the advantage of deploying these appliances over adding more bandwidth.
"While such issues with bandwidth shortage and cost are gradually being resolved, adding bandwidth in itself will not solve the problem entirely since it still does not address the inefficiencies that exist in application transmission," he adds.
WAN optimization solutions are also key components of disaster recovery strategy. According to Chandrasekaran, the ability of these appliances to accelerate data centre-to-data centre replication, backups and recovery means that the disaster recovery backup sites are constantly receiving instantaneous sets of data with minimal lag from the primary site.
Despite these upsides, awareness of this technology and its capabilities remain low. The apparent lack of case studies measuring ROI (return on investments) has also been minimal, given the relative early stage of the market.
Deployments have so far leaned towards more advanced markets, with Australia and Japan alone accounting for nearly half of the total Asia-Pac revenues in 2007. By industry, the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), service provider and manufacturing sectors were the biggest adopters of WAN optimization.
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