In today’s ultra-connected world, enterprises are increasingly relying on video to communicate, inform, and educate their workers. According to a recent report, 50 percent of the Fortune 100 companies have their own corporate YouTube (News - Alert) channels, and many organizations have installed their own media centers, enabling them to produce professional quality videos in house.
For many businesses, video consumes about 30 to 60 percent of their wide area network bandwidth budget. As enterprises continue to leverage videos, the media servers, WANs, and internet links carrying the traffic are becoming increasingly congested. Cisco’s (News - Alert) 2014 Visual Networking Index notes that the internet carried 1 exabyte (or 1 billion gigabytes) of traffic in 2000, and in 2014 mobile networks carried nearly 30 exabytes of data traffic.
Congestion not only impacts the quality of the video, but it also leads other applications that share bandwidth with video content to perform poorly or become inoperable. This is detrimental to the user experience at a business. It also can be a huge pain point for IT support while increasing bandwidth costs. For organizations to fully capitalize on the benefits video can offer, here are five tips to help best ready a network for video.
- Scale live video. Find a way to reduce the impact of video on the WAN so that all users can effectively access live content. This will also minimize the impact on other traffic. One way to do this is by offloading the media servers in a data center, which enables businesses to reduce a multicast video to a remote site/branch office into a single video stream.
- Optimize on-demand video. Take advantage of on-demand caching to provide instant access to users. Cached videos are stored at the edge of the network close to the users, meaning traffic is distributed locally, at a higher speed, and is available 24/7.
- Optimize video from the internet or public cloud. Internet video represents the majority share of a company’s overall video traffic. The ability to optimize video traffic at the user end (i.e. asymmetrically) should be a key requirement when considering video traffic optimization.
- Manage the WAN and internet link to protect against video floods. Optimize video traffic to reduce the burden on the WAN, while identifying, isolating, and protecting the performance of critical applications from being impacted by video traffic.
- Support all video file types. Use application-specific technologies to ensure the network can optimize and manage all the video in a company’s environment. For example, HTTP/SSL are good options – these include HTML5, YouTube, and anything served from SharePoint. Adobe (News - Alert) Flash, Encrypted Flash, and Microsoft Windows Media Server are also good options.
With enterprises increasingly turning to multimedia content and video, they must put systems in place to ensure the network infrastructure is capable of delivering a high-quality user experience. An integrated solution that allows businesses to optimize email, file shares, backup, and cloud applications, while still allowing them to reap the benefits of video, live or on-demand, is optimal. By reducing bandwidth consumption and improving delivery performance, businesses can successfully leverage video for more effective training, education, and communications.
Mike Chen is director of product marketing at Blue Coat (News - Alert) Systems (www.bluecoat.com).
Edited by Alicia Young