-- Physical or Virtual: WAN optimization is available under several configurations – including physical devices that reside at the edge of the network or virtual appliances, which run as virtual machines at the edge of the network.
-- Capabilities: WAN optimization products are usually extendable and scalable, meaning that you have to size the solution appropriately. In other words, you don’t want to over-buy, or worse yet under-buy. What’s more, you will need to decide if you want an integrated firewall, caching capabilities and so on. Ideally, you will want to select a product that meets your immediate needs, yet provides a way to upgrade and scale the product as needed. Cost: WAN optimization products don’t come cheap, and with that in mind, it pays to do a cost/benefit analysis, taking into account that you may need to place a device at each location that connects to the WAN. Beware of hidden costs, such as service contracts, software assurance programs and so on.
-- Compatibility: For some organizations, certain applications or capabilities prove to be a key consideration. Case in point would be an organization that needs to synchronize data with a disaster recovery site or off site archive – the optimization solution should be tuned to support that scenario.
(VIDEO: Application Tune Ups Network Performance)