Wan optimisation is back in business

Wan optimisation is back in business

Remote workers and IT centralisation push market growth

The wide area networking (Wan) optimisation market is seeing substantial growth having been flat for a number of years, according to the latest market research.

Gartner analyst Andy Rolfe, author of the company's Magic Quadrant report on Wan application delivery, explained that the past two years had seen dramatic growth.

"It was a substantial market but it was not seeing a lot of growth. In fact it was languishing," he said. "But it has really taken off over the past two years."

Gartner's research showed that the whole Wan optimisation and control market increased by 22 per cent between the second and third quarters of 2007.

Nigel Hawthorn, vice president of worldwide marketing at Wan optimisation vendor Blue Coat, claimed that the market had matured in the 10 years his company had been operating.

"Enterprises were not interested in paying for faster access to data; they were more interested in security products," he said.

"As companies have centralised applications at their offices, they now have remote users saying that access to those applications and services is too slow. Companies are now willing to pay for those web traffic acceleration services."

Rolfe confirmed that company consolidation of IT resources had been a major factor in the growth of the market.

"Optimisation has changed the market dramatically and centralisation has been key to that," he said.

Blue Coat maintained that its ability to offer security and optimisation had helped it gain business, with 40,000 appliances installed worldwide.

"To get the benefit, you must have an appliance in the smallest office," said Hawthorn.

"You can save enormous costs by connecting using the internet rather than an expensive leased line direct back to HQ. But you can only do that if you have the security in that back office."