Remembering the Basics: Networking

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By: Steve Vonder Haar

Hope springs eternal, particularly at the beginning of a new year.

As the calendar turns, we look ahead and begin thinking about the changes that await us. For those of us in the streaming video business, that maybe means we start mulling about ways that video can play a bigger role on mobile devices or possibly consider new ways to bake streaming content into the flow of sprawling social media applications.

Undoubtedly, dreaming about the innovation around the corner makes the enterprise streaming market fun to watch. But, even as we look to the future, it’s important to keep one’s feet firmly planted in today’s reality. So, at the start of 2013, let’s take a step back to focus on the basic blocking and tackling of our business. In the streaming sector, that leads us to a discussion of networking.

After all, if you can’t shuttle video bits from Point A to Point B without crashing the corporate network, then all the nifty mobile capabilities or social media features really don’t mean much. While it’s simple to say, it’s also commonly overlooked: Streaming cannot happen without good network connections.

Addressing this basic need means different things to different companies. Some simply beef up the capacity of their corporate networks. Many look to hosted peer-to-peer networking services to boost the amount of streaming traffic that they can get from place to place.  Some will blend in multiple transport solutions, such as content distribution networks and satellite, to make global systems work. Still others will install appliances from the likes of RiverBed or BlueCoat to better manage the flow of video traffic on the corporate network.

The common thread found here is that companies must address the issue of networking on a definitive basis before they can even start the process of comparing the technology features that drive the growing hype and interest swirling around today’s enterprise streaming market.

Certainly, plenty of prospective enterprise streaming platform deployments have been delayed – or even derailed – because of concerns about how streaming video usage would impact corporate networks. Executives serious about championing the implementation of streaming in business communications must make sure they have cogent answers on the impact that streaming deployment is likely to have on a corporate network.

It’s natural for any purchase decision maker to pay attention to the emerging elements of enterprise streaming platforms. After all, it’s far more interesting to talk about iPads and social media than it is to contemplate the pipes that make it possible to mesh these technologies with online video.

Corporate champions for enterprise streaming deployment should look beyond these bells and whistles. Address the basics. Make sure networking capacity is in place. Without viable networking, streaming software platforms are useless.

You still can make all the streaming-related resolutions for the New Year that you want, of course. Just don’t forget the basics as you’re thinking about the future.

Steve Vonder Haar is a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at svonder@wainhouse.com

 

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