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GCN : November 2013
Soaring demand pushes network optimization needs WITH BANDWIDTH-HOGGING applications prolif- erating and users becoming ever-more mobile and dispersed, government agencies are seeing increasing pressure on network capacity and performance. "Technologies such as big data, cloud and mobile computing are changing the makeup of modern appli- cations and services that run on them," according to a recent report from market researcher Aberdeen Group. "Organizations are nding the old ways of managing performance and bandwidth usage no longer apply." Earlier this year, a survey by the 1105 Government Information Group of federal, state and local IT pro- fessionals showed government organizations are well aware of this. Every respondent said they expected in- creases in daily network traf c over the next two years, well over half by 20 percent or more, and a signi cant fraction by more than 60 percent. Little wonder, then, that those same IT profession- als are looking for help in improving their networks' performance. Some 41 percent of them rated the need for tools with which to prioritize network traf c as very critical, for example. A similar percentage rated the need "somewhat critical." Network optimization, which aims to boost the re- sponse and performance capabilities of both local and wide area networks, is the tool that agencies will use to provide this prioritization. Although some agencies have not felt the need to employ much optimization yet, even budget-constrained organizations soon might decide they have no choice. Optimization should aim at either reducing band- width needs or, more likely, sharply curtailing the growth curve for bandwidth demand, said John Burke, an analyst with Nemertes Research. "The idea being that, if you put optimization in place here on the network, then you won't have to increase bandwidth for the next four years, instead of in the next year," he said. "If you can build a cost model to show that optimization will relieve the pressure of the increasing bandwidth demand from more staff, or from certain applications, then you have a business case for optimization." However, he said, it's "de nitely not a non-zero ef- fort, and the more complicated your network is the harder it will be." In some cases, agencies might already have the tools they need. But if not, they are likely to nd that the new tools will help them address several needs at once. Dan Shey, practice director in M2M, enterprise and verticals at ABI Research, said optimization tools might fall in a number of categories, the primary ones being mobile device, application, content, workspace and security management. "As they relate to the enterprise network, particularly the LAN, all of these tools can help with optimization because they can ensure only approved applications are used, which are then optimized for the network they are on," he said. SPONSORED REPORT: SNAPSHOT NETWORK OPTIMIZATION GET THE FULL REPORT ONLINE AT: GCN.com/2013OptimizeTheNet Get More Online... Network Optimization Report Articles: WAN optimization gets a closer look Combining optimization and security takes balance Network optimization key to cloud transition Software-de ned networks: The way of the future?