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24 Jan

Video Killed the Enterprise Network

A Man Pointing at a Digital Play Button

If you’re from my generation, perhaps you remember the very first music video that was aired on MTV – Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles. It was prophetic at the time, but more than three decades later it seems that video may have set its sights on a new target – your enterprise network.

Enterprise networks are being inundated with an ever-increasing presence of video in the workplace:

  • Business video conferencing, which is expected to grow at an annual rate of 48 percent from 2011 to 2016
  • Telepresence, which deploys greater technical sophistication and improved fidelity of both sight and sound than traditional videoconferencing
  • YouTube, with more than four billion video views worldwide every day, is also the world's second largest search engine after Google
  • Netflix, which consumes 33% of all Internet bandwidth
  • Skype, Facetime, WebEx, and other collaboration tools that can be used for business or personal communications
  • Webcams used by employees who wish to monitor their homes from work
  • Live video streams of worldwide events

While few businesses expect employees to watch feature-length movies on Netflix during office hours, it’s not uncommon for workers to use Skype for business meetings or YouTube for professional development. As a result, enterprises are challenged when determining which video applications should have priority over others. Network administrators must understand the many sources of video within the enterprise and the impact each has on network capacity and the ability to deliver business-critical applications and quality of experience.

For example, one SevOne customer related a story of how their network was quickly brought to its knees back in January of 2009 for unknown reasons. Having recently deployed SevOne, they were able to view a real time dashboard of Netflow data that revealed the majority of the company was watching a live video stream of the first inauguration of President Obama. They quickly set up a conference room for employees to view the event from a single desktop and prevented a prolonged impact to their network.

The point is, enterprises can’t simply shut down certain video sources. The line between personal and business use of video is too blurry in today’s workplace. What’s required is a better understanding of the real-time impact of employee behavior and video consumption so potential degradations to network performance can be averted before end users feel the impact.

Scott Frymire is Manager of Product Marketing for SevOne.

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