What you need to know to prepare for a bandwidth crunch

Expansion of virtualized servers and device proliferation force agencies to prepare for worst on their networks

As the types and quantity of content grow on enterprise wide-area networks (WANs), public- and private-sector organizations should plan ahead by taking a more proactive, holistic approach to managing and optimizing WANs, according to recent research from IDC, Framingham, Mass.

IDC analysts Lucinda Borovick and Richard Villars wrote in a February IDC report titled “The Intelligent WAN” that the best strategy for dealing with growing traffic demands includes:

• Highly available, active architectures to support uninterrupted operations.
• High performance to facilitate the distribution of large file sets and massive numbers of small file sets in real time.
• Network intelligence to keep up with operational demands for capacity and quality-of-service requirements.

IDC maintains that 2011 was the first year more applications were deployed as virtual machines on virtualized servers rather than on dedicated physical servers. “The use of virtualization for application servers will only accelerate after 2011, surpassing 75 percent of deployed applications within a few years,” the researchers wrote.

To achieve greater compliance with continuity-of-operations planning goals, IDC recommends that IT organizations plan for a dramatic expansion of data replication WAN links. At the same time, the creation, organization and distribution of rich content, including video, is driving booming storage demand. In 2011, IDC estimates that organizations worldwide deployed 15,900 petabytes of disk capacity for the storage of file-based data. By 2015, new storage capacity deployed annually in data centers is expected to reach 86,300 petabytes.

The need to transport very large datasets between data centers is driving requirements for highly flexible yet secure WAN infrastructures. IDC says organizations that have upgraded data center networks and WANs to support virtualization and cloud initiatives are on the road to supporting big data as well. But network managers should still seek to adopt a holistic approach to WAN expansion to handle the level of big traffic to come, IDC reported. That’s because as mobility increases, content types explode and more devices hit the network, the WAN must “not only handle high-volume traffic but also provide the intelligence to recognize and report on the multidimensional aspects of the workload,” Borovick and Villars wrote.

Multidimensional network intelligence includes bandwidth requirements, operational priority, latency sensitivity and time sensitivity. IDC recommends that organizations work with service providers to deploy 40G or 100G products in their IP networking and optical network backbones.

The IDC analysts maintain that well-developed plans for WAN support of big traffic must address connections within the organization’s network and anticipate future requirements for connectivity with broader, publicly available or available-for-purchase datasets. The complexity of high-velocity capture, discovery and analysis requires that architects look beyond pure bandwidth, the analysts reported. The ability to fit into existing network topologies and ensure that the network provides a seamless path to expansion is paramount. Accomplishing that will require high performance, active network intelligence and route diversity.

Addressing the growing big traffic network considerations will be fundamentally important to addressing big data challenges in large organizations and will be required for meeting data governance and other regulatory requirements. IDC also reported that organizations embracing a more holistic approach to WAN expansion will gain downstream benefits, such as greater network resiliency, ease of management and cost-effective, pay-as-you-grow capabilities.

For more information about IDC’s research, please visit www.idc.com.

About this Report

This report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Government Information Group. Specific topics are chosen in response to interest from the vendor community; however, sponsors arenot guaranteed content contribution or review of content before publication. For more information about 1105 Government Information Group Content Solutions, please email us at [email protected]