The Value of Managed Application Services > White Paper

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2 Executive Summary In today s networked world, being able to connect the right resources to the right opportunities or problems at the right time can give businesses the edge and agility they need to innovate, enter markets, seize share, and grow revenue. But as the business expands to meet the needs of today s global economy, it can bump up against performance issues as it traverses the wide area network (WAN). What organizations are discovering is that many of these applications struggle, due to latency, jitter, and network congestion issues, bringing work to a near standstill. This can be devastating to the business. If critical applications are unreliable it can equate to lost productivity and costly downtime. It s why improving the performance of networked applications is one of the top priorities of most enterprises. A survey by Yankee Group found improving the performance of enterprise applications in branch offices was considered the number-one IT initiative 1 ; according to WAN managers interviewed by IDC, it was second only to security. 2 Scaling the network and rolling out applications to an enterprise s increasingly distributed workforce can be extremely difficult. Taking into account the growing complexity of the enterprise networks, themselves, coupled with the ever-changing application landscape and the rapidly evolving WAN environment, it s easy to see why many enterprise IT departments struggle to optimize their application delivery. The problem is most organizations are struggling with lights on activities; just trying to keep their networks up and running to support the business processes already in place takes up most of the IT department s resources. Supporting the delivery of applications over the WAN that were designed to traverse the local area network (LAN) can be challenging. Then there are all the new Web 2.0 applications, such as collaboration and video services that users are rapidly adopting and asking the organization to support. Often, IT lacks the staff to stay up-to-date on all these new services and technologies as they enter the market. As a result, it is hard for them to quickly and effectively test, deploy and manage new application roll outs. They may find themselves forced to deliver applications across the WAN, without really understanding exactly what the user experience is going to be or how to make it better when disruptions occur. 1 Managed Application Acceleration Brings Opportunities and Challenges, by Agatha Poon, Yankee Group, U.S. WAN Managers Survey, IDC, < >

3 Sometimes, they may know what they need, in terms of a WAN optimization solution, but don t have the budget to make the capital investment or the time to focus on the deployment and ongoing management of the solution. Sometimes they simply want or need to focus their attention elsewhere; while application performance is critical to the success of the business, it is often not a core competency for the organization and, with the finite resources of an IT department, decisions may need to be made about how best to utilize the assets and expertise at hand. All of these reasons are why many enterprises are turning to managed service providers to help them with their application performance needs. Leveraging the staff, resources and expertise of a managed service provider can ensure you get the predictable application performance you need, while reducing costs, relieving the management burden, and ensuring accountability and quick resolution of any issues. The following table shows what WAN managers identify are the benefits of using a managed service provider: Perceived Benefits of Managed Services Percentage of respondents ranking each factor #1, #2, or #3 Refocus resources on core business Reduce network operations costs Lack of internal skills/resources Improve network/application availability and performance Technology/application upgrades/deployments Single point of contact/accountability Source: IDC U.S. WAN Managers Survey, < >

4 This white paper will examine the landscape in which IT departments are operating, the particular application performance issues they are facing, the potential benefits of turning to a managed service provider and what to expect from a managed application service. It will end with a quick preview of some of the specific benefits associated with using a managed service that leverages industry-leading Blue Coat technology. The Affects of the Changing IT Landscape on Application Performance A recurring theme within IT has always been do more, with less, so it s probably not a surprise that managing and reducing operational expenses is a top priority of most IT departments. More specifically, an IDC survey 3 identified the primary IT directives of executive managers are to improve the efficiency of business operations (58%) and reduce costs (54%). Of course, these objectives are then followed by a seemingly incongruous focus on innovation and increased responsiveness (at 34% and 33%, respectively). This is the perennial dilemma of IT how to balance the pressure to reduce the operational costs of the IT infrastructure, while at the same time trying to leverage that infrastructure to do more to drive business growth. The infrastructure is being extended to a wider variety of users, located in increasingly disparate sites, to deliver always-on access to an ever-changing set of business critical services and applications. The reality is to compete, organizations need to be able to quickly connect people and resources to the information and services they need to do business, regardless of where they are located; they need to ensure the business is agile enough to quickly roll out new services and applications to seize rapidly evolving market opportunities. As a result, 90 percent of enterprise respondents to a Nemertes survey 4 say they operate virtual organizations, supporting an increasingly geographical dispersed workforce operating out of many remote sites and home offices to be able to address the opportunities of the modern economy. However, while users have been moving outward, most enterprise applications and data have been centralized (57% by some accounts 5 ). This means that all the services and applications the business relies on now have to travel across the WAN to all these distributed end-users, creating new challenges for the organization. 3 IDC Network-IT Convergence Survey, IDC, , 5 Meeting the Enterprise Collaboration Challenge: Managed Network Services Can Guarantee Application Performance, Irwin Lazar, Nemertes Research, < >

5 Enterprises need to ensure employees, partners and customers can effectively communicate to drive innovation, accelerate problem solving, solicit feedback, and improve responsiveness and business agility. As a result, the performance, management and delivery of the collaborative applications that facilitate all these interactions, such as Web, audio and video conferencing, document sharing and messaging, are critical to the ongoing success of the enterprise. Users expect and need the performance of all these applications to work flawlessly; they expect the same quality regardless of where they are located or how they are connecting. When users receive anything less than a predictable, satisfactory experience, it can affect their ability to collaborate and reduce overall productivity. Application Degradation For the past several years, almost every enterprise has embarked on some sort of consolidation project, in an effort to increase their control and reduce the costs of their IT infrastructure. Converging networks (e.g. fixed-mobile convergence [FMC]), consolidating data centers, and centralizing IT resources has helped simplify the IT architecture, stop the sprawl, reduce management complexity, and minimize duplicative investments and efforts. However, it has also created massive performance and bandwidth problems for many business critical applications. This is because, while IT infrastructure has been consolidating, the end users, who are served by this infrastructure, have been expanding outward. As globalization accelerates, businesses are racing to compete and enable employees, partners, and customers to get access to the information they need to conduct business at all times, from wherever they are in the world. Applications that used to be delivered over the local area network (LAN) are now being expected to be available over the wide area network (WAN); but when traveling the long distances of the WAN, the performance of these applications can significantly degrade and hamper overall productivity. It becomes a very tall order for most IT organizations, who are already stretched to their limits, from both a budget and manpower perspective, to address; namely because performance over the WAN is a problem that is constantly changing. Not only do they need to manage the performance of the traditional business critical applications that their users need, but they must also keep up with all the new Web technologies that are being transported 4 < >

6 by the WAN. They need to support Microsoft Office, SAP, SharePoint and Oracle applications, as well as all the video and collaboration applications that users require. Plus, with more and more traffic sent over the WAN, organizations need to manage their increasingly costly bandwidth demands. What used to just be complicated has suddenly become very complex; and every indication is that it will only continue to require more expertise and vigilance as enterprises strive to manage the overall performance and bandwidth utilization of your WAN. The Managed Service Advantage Enterprises facing the dilemma of how to effectively manage and improve their WAN performance, while keeping everything else going, are increasingly turning to Managed Service Providers for support. As defined by IDC, a managed service provides enterprises a help-me-do-it or do-itfor-me approach to the operation, monitoring and performance optimization of network and/or IT functions. By contracting a third-party provider to take care of these aspects of IT s operations on an on-going basis, an enterprise can: -> Augment their staff s expertise - rely on the managed service provider and their wealth of experience, to ensure the network is up-to-date and reap the benefits of rapidly evolving technologies and applications -> Innovate free up staff to focus on other business imperatives, while increasing the overall coverage of the IT infrastructure through global services that can scale to meet the changing needs of the organization -> Achieve predictability a predefined service level agreement (SLA) ensures you can expect a predictable level of performance/availability/capacity/ etc.; an agreed upon monthly or annual fee means there is visibility into operational costs to ensure the enterprise can confidently plan and set user expectations around application performance -> Increase responsiveness issues are quickly resolved by the managed service provider, reducing your overall maintenance and troubleshooting burden and ensuring you can stay on top of other IT imperatives -> Support compliance and governance requirements receive comprehensive records of all activity and actions taken 5 < >

7 What to Expect From A Managed Application Service Enterprises turn to managed service providers for all sorts of reasons. Forrester reported that increased revenue, reduced cost, and improved efficiency drive interest in managed services 6 from the firms they interviewed that were using it. Nemertes found that managed service adoption has grown from 27% of their research participants to 63% 7 to reduce implementation and operational costs and ensure reliable delivery, regardless of location, of their increasingly important collaborative applications. So, what can an enterprise expect when turning to a managed service provider for their application performance? There are multiple managed application service options offered by providers, ranging from deploying equipment at an enterprise s premise (CPE-based) to providing a dedicated hosted service. The goal is to find an MSP that meets the needs of the organization; one that delivers the optimization and simplicity in management required to deliver a predictable user experience for all the critical applications. With a Managed Application Service enterprises can expect: Application performance in line with business needs and policies Using tools to prioritize traffic and ensure the predictable performance of specific applications, regardless of how the end user is connecting to a specific service or application, managed service providers can guarantee the quality of the end-user experience. Costs contained The very nature of a WAN optimization solution is to ensure enterprises can maximize the utility of their existing WAN investments, thereby reducing the need to purchase additional costly bandwidth. They can also take advantage of the predictability of the billing cycle of the service, enabling them to effectively carve out appropriate budget. By leveraging the network of a managed service provider, according to Forrester, an enterprise can limit your capital investments, while increasing the flexibility of your IT infrastructure. 8 In addition, since the service provider takes responsibility for the application performance (with SLAs), the 6 Market Overview: The Broad Opportunities in Managed Services, by Henry Dewing, Forrester Research, Inc., Survey responses in 2006 and 2008 as reported in Meeting the Enterprise Collaboration Challenge: Managed Network Services Can Guarantee Application Performance, Irwin Lazar, Nemertes Research, Market Overview: The Broad Opportunities in Managed Services, by Henry Dewing, Forrester Research, Inc., < >

8 ongoing management and maintenance burden is significantly reduced. As a result, managed service customers often find that they are able to reduce both their CAPEX and OPEX costs. Improvements in system reliability Managed service providers have built out their infrastructure on a global scale, with dedicated staff focused on maintaining the utmost in availability and reliability. Since they are responsible for the application performance, there is a single entity to turn to in the event of a disruption or issue, eliminating finger-pointing and minimizing troubleshooting and resolution times to maximize the availability of the service. As a result, enterprises can be certain of their application delivery capabilities and focus their efforts on other IT issues to drive the business. Robust reporting Detailed metric reporting provides the visibility into what s going on in the network to support the compliance and regulatory requirements for the applications. Powerful Combination of a Managed Services Based on Blue Coat For the past 12 years, Blue Coat has led the development of wide area network (WAN) optimization technologies to ensure enterprises always have what they need to deliver users a satisfactory experience over the WAN. Blue Coat works with most service providers to ensure they can deliver the innovative technologies needed to handle the changing demands on the WAN, including the ability to enable critical consolidation and centralization initiatives for files, storage, , backup and enterprise applications while delivering support for the emerging applications that will increasingly dominate network and application delivery web, video and cloud. For the past decade, Blue Coat s WAN Optimization technologies have focused on speeding up existing key file and storage protocols that were widely used on the LAN, such as Microsoft file access over CIFS and Exchange/Outlook over MAPI and, optimizing them to work effectively over distributed WANs. Compression and byte caching (also known as second pass dictionary compression), can be used to reduce bandwidth significantly, while QoS can throttle disruptive traffic and prioritize more important applications. These foundation technologies accelerate remote and branch access to centralized files from Microsoft, EMC, EqualLogic, Brocade and NetApp; from Notes, Microsoft Exchange and others; and backup systems from 7 < >

9 Commvault, Symantec and others. They improve performance by managing latency issues with chatty file protocols, caching attachments, and expanding bandwidth for high-volume transfers and drastically reducing the data that transits the WAN. The benefits of these foundational WAN Optimization technologies deliver a significant ROI: -> Accelerating user performance by two, five even three hundred times -> Reducing bandwidth for files, storage and by 50-95% -> Making consolidation and centralization possible The Unique Video Advantage The key to reaping the benefits of video lies in the performance of the underlying network that supports it. Streaming video applications live or on-demand require careful performance management across WAN links. A managed service that uses Blue Coat ProxySG technology ensures enterprises can deliver the quality users expect, without having to add bandwidth or limit access. The service intelligently distributes video content to audiences, using application acceleration capabilities to ensure a consistent level of video quality for all remote users through object caching, protocol optimization, and bandwidth management. In addition, enterprises can compress other, less time-sensitive traffic to make even more bandwidth available for real-time rich media. Application Performance Improvements With underlying Blue Coat technology, enterprises get the reliability, availability and security they need to deliver a high-quality user experience for all business-critical applications. The following are just a couple examples of the performance improvements customers have seen: SAP Typical response times of SAP applications over the WAN can really slow productivity. At headquarters, logging into SAP can take about 4.3 seconds, but in a small regional branch office, it can take up to 45 seconds. Think about pulling down a 5mb presentation - locally it can take.8 of a second, but in many branch offices that extends up to 112 seconds. What about creating a sales order it can 13.7 seconds locally, but up to almost 39 seconds in a branch office. Even a simple query for supplier parts can be < >

10 seconds locally, but up to 28.8 seconds in the branch. Blue Coat offers the only certified SAP optimization solution on the market. With the technology, customers see dramatic increases in response times: Login Warm More than 12 times faster Cold 5MB PPT Without ProxySG Blue Coat Almost 60 times faster WAN Only Average Response Time (secs) Query Supplier Parts Warm More than 2.5 times faster Cold WAN Response Time (secs) Microsoft Many users complain of the latency associated with Microsoft applications such as Office and SharePoint over the WAN. A user at the branch, over a pretty typical WAN scenario, downloading a 6MB Word document can take 45 seconds, and a subsequent save will take yet another 45 seconds. Downloading a 29MB training video takes almost 5 minutes. And this is assuming a wide open WAN. (Results will likely be even more degraded assuming the WAN is going to be used for other activities.) Blue Coat has been working with Microsoft for almost a decade to optimize Microsoft products. With Office, for example, Blue Coat has worked extensively with the CIFS and MAPI protocols to accelerate them across the WAN, using object caching, byte caching, compression, bandwidth management, and protocol optimization. Customers have seen the benefits of all this work: Warm More than 25 times faster Cold Without ProxySG Blue Coat Without ProxySG 95% bandwidth reduction < >

11 Conclusion The success of almost every organization in today s networked world relies on the ability to connect people and resources, whenever and wherever they may be. As IT departments work hard to keep up with the ever-increasing demands placed on the network and do more with less, managed application service providers offer a cost-effective solution that alleviates the burden on IT resources and staff, freeing them to innovate and focus on other IT issues core to the business. A managed application service that leverages the underlying Blue Coat technology ensures enterprises have the resources and expertise at their fingertips to roll out all the business-critical applications their increasingly distributed user need to confidently drive the business forward. 10 < >

12 Blue Coat Systems, Inc BCOAT Direct Fax Copyright 2010 Blue Coat Systems, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this document may be reproduced by any means nor translated to any electronic medium without the written consent of Blue Coat Systems, Inc. Specifications are subject to change without notice. Information contained in this document is believed to be accurate and reliable, however, Blue Coat Systems, Inc. assumes no responsibility for its use. Blue Coat, ProxySG, PacketShaper, CacheFlow, IntelligenceCenter and BlueTouch are registered trademarks of Blue Coat Systems, Inc. in the U.S. and worldwide. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners. v.wp-managed-app-services-v1-1010

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