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GCN : February 2013
One way or another, it always comes down to bandwidth. That s what federal agencies are discovering as they look to capital- ize on recent innovations in how data is accessed, analyzed and shared. Big data, cloud comput- ing, mobile computing, voice over IP --- in the end, these and other advances in technology depend on agencies being able to provide adequate network bandwidth and management capabilities. It should come as no surprise then that agencies are prepared to invest more money in their networks. But as a matter of necessity, they also are looking to drive down the cost of managing those networks. These are some of the ndings of a survey of 251 federal, state and local government IT professionals conducted in November 2012 by the 1105 Government Information Group. (Details about the method- ology and demographic informa- tion on the respondents are below.) The survey found that over the next two years, network traf- c is projected to increase by an average of 29.3 percent across the federal government, with 13 percent of respondents expecting an increase of 60 percent or more (see gure 1). Indeed, agencies have already begun to invest more money in their networks, with 30 percent of respondents saying their budget for modernizing their network infra- structure was increasing. However, the increased investment is not necessarily a result of the expected surge in network traf c. In fact, federal agencies have an- ticipated these demands and have upgraded backbones accordingly, said Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting, which provides services to corporate and government cli- ents. "Most agencies are already in pretty good shape, at least in terms of their core networks and their network backbone," he said. Instead, the investments are likely aimed at what Suss calls "expand- ing at the edges." Many popular networking applications, such as voice over IP and videoconferencing, are real-time services that demand a higher level of reliability and redun- dancy in the end-user environment than many traditional applications. Likewise, quality of service is an increasing concern. Agencies need the ability to ensure that data as- sociated with real-time services is given priority; otherwise, the appli- cation performance will suffer, even if adequate bandwidth is available. Their concerns are well-founded, according to "The Changing Face of Network Performance," a recent report by the Aberdeen Group, a market research rm. "Technologies such as big data, cloud and mobile computing are changing the makeup of modern networks and applications and services that run on them," the report states. "With these changes, organizations are nding the old ways of managing performance and bandwidth usage no longer apply." strategic decisions." Sponsored Report NETWORK TRANSFORMATION AND MODERNIZATION New demands drive network investments Infrastructure upgrades help agencies deal with cloud, mobile IT and other trends Agencies expect surge in traffic in next two years % of respondents indicating how much their agencies daily network traf c is expected to increase in two years Source: 1105 Government Information Group Research Study 13% EXPECT 60% OR MORE INCREASE 25% EXPECT 30-59% INCREASE 21% EXPECT 20-29% INCREASE 22% EXPECT 10-19% INCREASE 19% EXPECT LESS THAN 10% INCREASE FULL REPORT ONLINE, Go to www.gcn.com/2013NetworkTransMod 2. Network modernization: Where to begin? 3. Wireless gets ready for prime time 4. Agencies prep for cloud complexity 5. Voice, video poised for impact Other network transformation and modernization research report articles