Last week one of our customers said “Looks like WAN Optimization is dead. For me, control and visibility is more beneficial than SD-WAN.” I have to confess – I really enjoyed hearing this. It was completely unsolicited and during a time when his company was being aggressively courted by both a WAN Optimization vendor and an SD-WAN vendor.

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You might be wondering why this is significant. Well, simply put, the market is changing. Whilst there are a few (and I mean few) individuals who can create and define a market (two examples who quickly come to mind are Steve Jobs and Mark Templeton), it’s actually customers whom define and make the market. It’s amazing isn’t it? Without the need for expensive marketing agencies and campaigns, without flashing lights and gizmos the customers, our end users, vote on the best technology investments that support their environments.

With the increasing consumption of cloud services, like Office 365, the Internet connection has now become a strategic part of the network. And when the Internet is in play, Wan Op’s usefulness becomes much more limited. Your key apps are now fighting for resources with other cloud (i.e. recreational) traffic. It’s not about accelerating the connection, which you can’t even do; it’s about visibility and control. In today’s world, WAN Optimization on it’s own is as useful as sunglasses at night. WAN Op is like the hypervisor market, it is commoditized. It’s just a technology that’s part of a toolkit.

So what about SD-WAN – the heir apparent of WAN Op? Well, when we break SD-WAN down to it’s core, the focus is around reducing cost. Functionality is not really at stake, it’s about how to achieve what is required without having to absorb large increases in costs for connectivity. SD-WAN’s promises are not overly relevant, they are a purist’s approach to a problem that is as old as time – as far as networks are concerned.

Well, what about Exinda? Didn’t it used to be all about WAN Optimization? Great question! Exinda is not tied to WAN Op or SD-WAN, rather Exinda is (and has always been) about the end user and delivering exceptional application performance! Our goal is to ensure that the user of the network and business applications (wherever they are hosted) has a seamless experience. In other words, we make sure the user doesn’t in anyway have to think about how well the technology they’re using is performing. It just simply works flawlessly, and allows them to do their job without interruption. And visibility and control are the key to fulfilling this promise.

So why bring this up now? Well frankly, WAN Optimization is dead and SD-WAN only provides limited benefit in certain circumstances. That’s why Exinda’s focus is neither of those two; the focus is the end user experience (and of course making IT pros jobs a heck of a lot easier!) Exinda’s visibility provides real-time insight into the user experience, identifies potential issues before they occur and gives you the granular control you need to ensure your most important applications perform consistently and reliably. What more do you need?

So long WAN Op. It’s been real.