To compete with Olympics, talk app management, not bandwidth

Ipanema’s Bruce Hunter argues that pushing investment in bandwidth is not necessarily worthwhile when it comes to helping networks cope with high-demand events such as the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

High-profile sporting events like the recent Sochi Olympics can cause problems in the workplace. Employees will enthusiastically stream coverage from their desks in order to keep up with their favourite event, and finals like the men’s ice-hockey between the US and Canada will draw in millions.

But whilst employees watch the puck being deftly swept across the rink, IT managers’ lips will be puckering in discontent. And this is down to the strain which streaming puts on corporate networks.

If significant numbers of employees are streaming coverage, this puts demand on the bandwidth of the IT networks which deliver business-critical applications. Those critical applications may fail to work effectively, and this has knock-on effects on business performance. No IT manager wants to see a video-conference call become jittery and jarred, simply because employees are avidly streaming the women’s figure skating.

So how can corporations be confident in the knowledge that streaming won’t impact on the more important business applications? On one hand, IT managers could invest in more bandwidth. But this is a costly and often unnecessary step. It’s far more efficient to instead prioritise the business critical applications which run over the networks, and I think that this is a tactic which will become more prevalent in the wake of events like the Olympics.

If IT managers have visibility over their corporate network, they will be able to decide which applications have first priority. This means that even in the midst of heavy streaming, the important applications’ performance is absolutely guaranteed, at all times.

Accountability is becoming increasingly important for those who manage corporate networks, and this has been a source of worry for many. Knowing that business applications will be able to perform effectively at all times, no matter the pressures the network is under, is key. Corporations need to equip themselves prudently if they are to stand up to the situation and the competition.

Bruce Hunter is vice president of Northern Europe at Ipanema Technologies

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