The growing adoption of virtualisation, cloud services and distributed applications represents a common theme and a common challenge: each relies on the wide area network (WAN). Today, the WAN is vital to all aspects of a distributed network, yet it is plagued with bandwidth limitations, latency and packet loss. This has driven a need for more flexible WAN optimisation products which can be deployed cost-effectively across the entire network; from the cloud, to the data centre, to the branch. Fortunately, the rapid adoption of virtualisation and the presence of under-utilised computing resources within the network are opening the door for WAN optimisation to be deployed on any platform across the network.Some new vendors, with their data centre class WAN optimisation products, have fully embraced virtualisation and are leveraging software-based technology to deliver virtual open architecture, allowing the reseller channel to deploy WAN optimisation more conveniently than ever. Virtual open architecture is based on software capable of powering physical WAN optimisation appliances, as well as virtual appliances. This software is making it easy for technology to run on any hypervisor, server, router blade – in fact on any platform that meets the minimum system requirements.By utilising an open architecture delivered through various physical and virtual product offerings, resellers and end-users benefit from a comprehensive set of options for deploying WAN optimisation, whether the preference is physical devices in the data centre and virtual in the branch, or vice versa. Whether an enterprise deploys a multi-gigabit physical appliance, or a 4Mbps virtual appliance, customers can take advantage of the same data centre class product.Pay as you go or growIt doesn’t end there for partners and customers of the more enterprising vendors, who have taken deployment flexibility a step further by offering competitive pricing options for deploying WAN optimisation. Shop around for vendors who include new subscription, or pay as you go, pricing for virtual products, since these allow customers to avoid larger up-front capital costs and pay for only what is needed as an annual operating expense. To break customers free from the expensive and painful hardware refresh cycles forced by some WAN optimisation vendors, others are offering investment protection or ‘pay as you grow’ pricing for perpetual licenses. This allows customers to start small and upgrade as network demands dictate. The customer pays only the difference between the smaller and larger licenses when upgrading.Technology from open WAN optimisation specialists is ideal for VMware integration partners and resellers throughout New Zealand specialising in voice over IP and unified communications, video, data networking, storage, satellite; and for cloud and other managed service providers. Open products can be installed quickly and easily to optimise any of the above applications and have proven invaluable for verifying throughput and WAN capabilities offered by service providers.WAN optimisation appliances optimise all IP traffic, regardless of transport protocol and application software version. The appliances overcome common WAN challenges that adversely impact application performance and reliability using real-time network optimisation techniques. Optimisation techniques can include network acceleration to overcome WAN latency, network integrity to correct packet delivery issues and intelligently allocate WAN resources and network memory technology to maximise WAN bandwidth utilisation.