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Seize the WAN: Why Can't Mid-Market Companies Have It All?

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Seize the WAN: Why Can't Mid-Market Companies Have It All?

Mobile workforces clamor for uninterrupted access. Businesses are expanding to overseas markets faster than ever before.

Users expect nothing less than pristine application performance, no matter what office they reside in. Concurrently, the pressure on IT to manage a global enterprise within the constraints of shrinking budgets has never been higher. It’s not easy out there, especially if you are a mid-sized company trying to compete against the big boys.

In today’s competitive business environment, predictable performance is no longer a luxury -- it’s an imperative. Mid-market enterprises are constantly challenged to accommodate different traffic types while ensuring bandwidth-heavy business applications, centralized backup and remote file storage and other organizational needs are not constantly bogging down WAN links. To ensure high productivity and maintain a competitive advantage, companies are overwhelmingly turning to WAN optimization for reliable connectivity between branch offices; for accelerated application performance; and for more positive user experiences for remote workers.

ThoughtWorks, a 2,000-person IT consultancy that delivers custom software, software tools, consulting and transformation services to businesses that range from startups to global 1000 companies, found itself in a situation last year where it desperately needed WAN optimization technology to improve its global network connectivity and improve its communications with clients. According to Nitin Raina, global director of IT operations, ThoughtWorks wanted to address network and application performance concerns so the company could close the gap between global offices and users located worldwide.

WAN optimization technology is the ideal remedy to the network challenges that companies like ThoughtWorks face because it mitigates bandwidth and packet loss and improves network and application performance across the organization for better collaboration, increased communications and improved business productivity. The problem is that traditional hardware-based solutions and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) solutions can prove too costly, too complex and often can’t scale as needed. This is particularly frustrating for mid-sized companies that can’t afford these solutions and don’t have the staffing resources for ongoing maintenance.

Fortunately, advances in cloud-based technologies have reached a point where it’s possible to replicate the same dramatic productivity gains and increased visibility into WAN applications, locations and performance expected from traditional MPLS and WAN optimization solutions without the upfront capital investment required because it’s entirely cloud-based. By leveraging the cloud, the barrier to entry is lowered, giving mid-market enterprises access to the same powerful WAN optimization solutions that only the largest companies with enormous IT budget could previously enjoy.

Cloud-Based WAN Optimization in Action
ThoughtWorks was using MPLS links to connect its Chicago, London and Bangalore locations, with E1 and T1 connections for some of the remote smaller branch offices. This system was expensive to maintain, had limited visibility and wasn’t delivering the baseline performance needed. More specifically, the company’s software management tools were not giving good response times and were not productive enough for ThoughtWorks’ users located in China.

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