There are many good reasons to go down the virtual infrastructure road. The illusion that it’s cheaper than dedicated hardware solutions is not one of them.

I was reading an interesting predictive article on WAN optimization that contends that virtualized WAN optimization controllers (WOC) are, well, just better than sliced bread. One of the reasons why the author opined this way was presented as the great benefits of horizontal scalability (linear) in cloud computing environments.

blockquote Savings and scalability.  This approach ensures that there is no need for dedicated hardware to support WAN optimization, saving on CAPEX and OPEX.  Cost savings will also be realized through virtual scalability.  As enterprises add more services or applications to be accessed by additional remote workers via the cloud, the virtualized WAN optimization model will be able to scale linearly.

The implication here is clear: WAN optimization via virtual solutions saves CAPEX and OPEX over dedicated hardware and additional savings are achieved through virtual scalability. But that’s ignoring that the initial investment cost is simply shifted from CAPEX to longer-term OPEX when scalability enters the picture. Not just scalability of the solution, but the impact of application and virtual infrastructure scalability on the solution as well.