To highlight the benefit of one case in point, let's look at the NetScout/Riverbed integration. NetScout's nGenius Performance Management System has been granted enhanced visibility into Riverbed's proprietary signaling protocol in its Steelhead appliances. NetScout's broader view of the network across many multiple links and its analytics and reporting can then be brought to bear in establishing a clear "before" and "after" context for planning and assessing the value and effectiveness of Riverbed deployments.
This can be used for planning and optimization ("where will Riverbed be used most effectively?") and can also support planning for new applications. It also brings a capability for troubleshooting and fine-tuning existing Riverbed implementations and application performance issues where a Steelhead appliance is deployed.
I have to say that I am relieved to see this trend, and I expect it to continue and to, no pun intended, accelerate. Stepping up to the 10,000-foot level, there are two overall trends in the management market that are defining present-day and near-term advances - more cohesive visibility into services and their interdependencies; and more effective approaches to automate actions, whether machine to machine, people to machine, or people to people in workflow. These combinations to bring visibility with automated control in WAN optimization are now, finally, right in line with mainstream requirements and mainstream demand.