British IT publication TechWorld published some comments from representatives of seven leading WAN-optimization vendors that participated in a recent TechWorld-sponsored panel.
Most of the vendors agreed that wide-area file access (WAFS) is being subsumed under the broader umbrella of WAN optimization. Microsoft and its proprietary file protocols were blamed for causing significant trouble, with representatives from Converged Access and Cisco calling out the Redmond giant.
Said Manickam Sridhar, CTO of Converged Access:
The trend over the next 18 months is that Microsoft has to wake up, because 90 percent of the problem is Microsoft protocols. When they solve that, you’re left with how do you solve the one-to-many problem, and how do you solve Microsoft driving gigabytes of data across the network.
Jay Mellman, director of marketing for Cisco’s application networking group, expounded on the same theme:
When you consolidate, you have to fix the problems of people getting access, and those problems are exacerbated by Microsoft protocols which were never designed to be used like that.
Not surprisingly, WAN-optimization vendors see the technology spreading further, with some, such as F5 Networks, seeing specialized client software running on notebook PCs. The vendors also warned that while application performance might improve, it could come at the cost of increasingly complex networks that will be more difficult to manage.