To succeed, the infrastructure and application architectures that support web-based mission-critical processes must be as agile, dynamic, and ready to adapt to volatile market conditions as the business itself. An increasingly distributed – and impatient – community of users threatens the ability of businesses to reap the benefits of new architectures and applications such as SOA and Web 2.0 due to poor application performance. Users are demanding faster response times regardless of their location and method of connectivity, while the increasingly interactive nature of new Web applications takes its toll on the client, network, and servers alike.
Historically, organizations have turned to one of two solutions for acceleration needs: wide area network (WAN) optimization devices or traditional Web application technologies. The problem with these approaches is 1) WAN optimization solutions are often inflexible, providing increased performance only for a limited set of users, and 2) traditional web application acceleration technology does not offer a symmetric deployment option to enable LAN-like speeds over the WAN. Businesses have been forced to choose one or the other – or face diminishing returns by deploying both.
Moreover, as employees become increasingly mobile, more organizations have started to secure access to applications using SSL, though traditional solutions don’t, and often can’t, address the acceleration of SSL encrypted application traffic.
For organizations to succeed, they must provide fast, secure access to applications, whether the user is at a remote office or on the road, through corporate web applications over a dedicated WAN or the public internet. The new generation of application acceleration solutions combines acceleration technology from the best of WAN optimization and application acceleration devices into a single, flexible solution that can be deployed symmetrically or asymmetrically.
F5’s BIG-IP WebAccelerator can solve the problems inherent in both existing WAN optimization and web acceleration solutions by addressing the issues of web application performance through a combination of flexibility and advances in technology. Because one device has the capability to support both asymmetric and symmetric deployments simultaneously, BIG-IP WebAccelerator can provide improvements in performance to all users, regardless of location. This helps organizations deliver acceleration to the maximum number of users, while providing deployment options to meet individual organizations’ needs and investment level.
The flexible deployment architecture of F5’s BIG-IP WebAccelerator means that the benefits of a symmetric solution – better use of bandwidth and higher compression and caching rates – can now be achieved for Web applications. And the ability to simultaneously support asymmetric acceleration scenarios means that when the cost-benefit analysis of deploying a symmetric solution recommends against a symmetric solution deployment at a remote office, the users at that location can still benefit from traditional asymmetric acceleration features. This also enables organizations to scale their application acceleration devices to meet future needs.
A symmetric solution provides caching at the remote office locations, which allows content to be shared by all users at a remote office. Caching capabilities, compression, and optimization of HTTP reduces the bandwidth used between the remote office and data center – a huge benefit for many organizations with dedicated lines that may pay hefty bursting fees if they exceed allocated bandwidth. This ability can also reduce the traffic flowing through a content delivery network (CDN), which can in turn reduce high and unpredictable bursting fees. In some cases, deploying a symmetric web acceleration solution can take the place of a CDN, providing the same location-based performance benefits as well as the ability to pre-position content at remote sites for quicker access and reduced bandwidth usage.
Additionally, F5’s BIG-IP WebAccelerator provides organizations with the ability to accelerate SSL-encrypted content, meaning content that previously couldn’t be accelerated and optimized can now be addressed before being delivered, improving the performance of the application as well as reducing bandwidth use, often leading to decreased WAN congestion.