Network Devices or Virtual Appliances for Branch Offices?
In the networking industry there is an interesting debate over which will prevail in branch office networks -- networking devices or virtual appliances.
While branch office servers and applications are moving to the data center and driving WAN optimization technologies, This Network World article says that at the same time, cheap bandwidth and cloud services are changing the network infrastructure.
"There is an interesting debate happening in the networking industry that centers around branch office equipment. ESG Research points out that branch office servers and applications are moving to the data center and this move is driving more investment in WAN optimization technologies from Blue Coat, Cisco, Citrix, and Riverbed. At the same time, cheap bandwidth and cloud services are changing the network infrastructure. Large organizations are moving away from back-hauling all traffic through the data center and setting up a real network perimeter at the branches themselves.
"While networking changes continue, there is also another trend happening. Lots of legacy networking and IT functionality (WAN optimization, firewall, IDS/IPS, file servers, print servers, domain controllers, etc.) is now available as a virtual machine. A single device can now take on multiple functions."