Network World published this excellent piece on managing the changing IT landscape at branch offices. With the economy pressing companies to be more efficient than ever, this is a theme we’ve heard from our clients as well.
The trend towards centralized infrastructure at Headquarters or Data Center locations has meant an increasing reliance on web apps and collaboration tools at the branch offices. In an environment like this, network performance becomes increasingly critical and sensitive.
Its no secret that MPLS has become the dominant technology for wide area networks (WANs). And there are a number of ways to ensure that your companies MPLS network is functioning at it’s best. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Make sure to size bandwidth appropriately. Circuit size should be determined on the basis of current and future usage. Think seriously about bandwidth hungry applications that may be lurking in your network’s future.
2. When selecting a carrier, look for “growth friendly” bandwidth options like Ethernet and dynamic (burstable) services.
3. Work closely with your account team to determine the appropriate COS (Class of Service) designations for your various applications.
4. Consider using a data center or network based firewall to reduce the volume of traffic coming back to headquarters.
5. Consider WAN acceleration solutions such as those from Riverbed and Cisco to further improve performance.
How is your company dealing with WAN performance? Are you centralizing more of your infrastructure and IT? Any other good ideas on designing a high performing wide area network?