The new WAN architecture: a blueprint

By Johna Till Johnson, Network World |  Networking, WAN

If you're struggling to rearchitect your WAN to handle unprecedented growth, you're not alone. Enterprise organizations are gearing up for a bandwidth tsunami.

According to Nemertes Research's just-released 2010/2011 benchmark study, although a minority (28%) of organizations are predicting an increase in WAN bandwidth, those who are predicting an increase are anticipating a doozy. The average bandwidth increase in 2010 for those who expect growth is 220%. In 2011, they're predicting a whopping 550%.

What's driving the demand for growth? If you're among those experiencing it, you already know: First is the increased dispersion of users to branch offices, coupled with data center consolidation. Simply put, this means more WAN traffic, as IT moves servers farther away from users.

Second is the deployment of bandwidth-hungry applications, particularly videoconferencing and desktop virtualization.

Why does this matter? Because the dramatic increase in WAN bandwidth is driving many organizations to revisit how they're architecting their WANs. These firms are beginning to look at new technologies, including wavelength services and dark fiber. They're also revisiting how they're structuring carrier contracts, investigating regionalized approaches for high-volume portions of the network, and increasingly shifting traffic onto "non-traditional" services, like the Internet and broadband wireless.

The key to an effective next-generation WAN architecture? Match technologies and services to interconnection requirements. Herewith a blueprint:

Data center-to-data center connectivity: Data center interconnectivity requires high-capacity, low latency links. Although multiprotocol label-switching (MPLS) can do the trick, it's often an expensive solution. Telecom architects are increasingly turning to solutions such as carrier Ethernet (either point-to-point or virtual private LAN service, VPLS), or dark fiber or wavelength services. Seventy-one percent of organizations will be deploying some form of carrier Ethernet by the end of 2010, typically for data center-to-data center connectivity.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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