Why it matters: Path selection is perhaps the most powerful tool for IT teams looking to radically change the experience and economics of emerging cloud and Internet applications. It allows IT to embrace direct Internet and Internet VPNs without having to sacrifice performance requirements. Unlike router-based approaches, some WAN optimization approaches abstract path selection and leverage unique application-level knowledge that routers don't have.
If done properly, traditional WAN optimization techniques combined with emerging deployment form factors, quality of service and path selection can give a remote work force even more opportunities for being productive out in the field away from company headquarters. These new capabilities also help align IT when the business inevitably asks you to "move to the cloud" and "go mobile," but in a way where IT can still architect high-performance access to applications and data.
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