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Boxed Out: Acceleration as a Service

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WAN optimization and application acceleration is definitely an established market, but the emergence of cloud services is making it more critical as the WAN becomes an enterprise’s lifeline to their data, applications and other content in the cloud. Even more importantly, the Internet is how online retailers, SaaS providers and other Internet businesses directly reach their customers.

In a story about its networking predictions for 2011, CRN called out WAN acceleration as a key topic saying, “…now that cloud computing is the end-all, be-all choice for many of tomorrow’s data center deployments, [WAN acceleration] is a wholly necessary investment.”

Such demand is creating opportunities and innovation beyond a simple hardware-based approach that has capital, upgrade and management costs attached to it since it requires boxes at each end of the connection. These new options include the potential for managed services, the incorporation of acceleration into existing network equipment as well as software-only solutions that turn acceleration into a network-based service.

This diversity of options is critical since it broadens the addressable market and will support the acceleration of web-based applications that are increasingly more centralized in data centers, while users or customers are more geographically distributed (increasing the potential for network latency).

So, should you care about speed? Well, Google sure does. Last year they detailed in a blog post how they adjusted their SEO algorithms to account for how fast a website loads to help calculate its ranking: “Speeding up websites is important – not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.”

It may not seem like much, but even a one second difference in load time has been shown in research to reduce customer conversions by 7% — not to mention negatively impacting revenue and customer satisfaction.

When competitors are a simple click away – speed will always be a competitive advantage.

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