The laws of unintended consequences exist in the realm of client computing. As more devices leverage existing IT infrastructure and framework, while we think we can segregate traffic and personas, realities suggest something a bit different.
But first, as always, the disclaimer. The content and opinions expressed on this blog are mine and do not represent those of my employer.
Businesses have sized the corporate network for anticipated traffic. This includes assumptions for growth and the type of data traffic both bursty and lengthy. The consumerization of IT and the dynamics of BYO are exhibiting what we all likely could of anticipated- more traffic that is so co-mingled that the only choice is to revisit our assumptions and expand the network.
In the past few weeks, there have been a number of reports in the press regarding organizations who are realizing that the volume on the corporate network is expanding. We should not make the assumption that all of the traffic increase is solely due to consumer applications and content, there are several business scenarios to consider.
Let's look a bit deeper at this.
Training organizations, as an example, are realizing that on line video is a terrific technology to provide materials. Sending 10MB to 20MB files for training is likely not that unusual, but multiply that times the number of employees, and you can begin to see how the corporate network could become saturated with content. This is a relevant business scenario.
During the lunch hours, while employees leverage social or personal content, it can likely be reasonably assumed that the corporate network is used, at least to some degree. The multi-tasking during the business day with music, video, internet searches, social media will compete with business content.
If you look at vertical industries this may become more of a concern. If the business is health care (as an example) latency in the network could begin to impact care. In retail, point of sale and customer content could be impacted.
When we designed the networks that are in place today, we likely made assumptions about saturation, and capacity. Assuming that the capacity limits are being approached, the question becomes how to plan for this demand.
How does a business prioritize packets when the distinction between business and personal content becomes blurred? We of course can ask employees not to leverage the network, but really, how effective would that be?
It would be of interest to secure your thoughts and feedback on this topic.
My thinking is that it should be assumed that a business cannot differentiate between the two personas at this time and for the foreseeable horizon, we must anticipate what that demand might look like, develop governance, and secure funding for more investments in the network.
End users expect the network to be ubiquitous (one of the megatrends) and to be sized correctly. If IT does not expand and govern this aspect of BYO and consumerization, end user dissatisfaction will occur. Just as important, if the consumer nertwork is imapcted as well, there are ramifications for the overall business.
For those who sincerely believe that there are no costs associated with the consumerization of IT, this might be the wake up call. For the data plans for devices you might see a parallel path as well.
There are very few, if any, free things in IT, networking bandwidth and response time require an investment.