The rise of cloud computing has been a mixed bag for the bottom line of traditional network hardware manufacturers. Yes, there is business to be had by supplying the burgeoning cloud service providers with new hardware; however, as companies move their applications into the cloud, the elaborate WAN networks of yesteryear are slowly being phased out. The result is a decrease in sales of routers and switches, a dagger in the heart of the very growth engine that gave rise to the likes of Cisco, Juniper, and Adtran.
From a business perspective, we are pleasantly surprised to see an uptick in demand in the latter half of 2017 for bandwidth shapers. We expect this to continue on into 2018 and beyond.
Why are bandwidth shapers seeing an uptick in interest?
Prior to the rise of cloud computing , companies required large internal LAN network pipes, with relatively small connections to the Internet. As services move to the Cloud, the data that formerly traversed the local LAN is now being funneled out of the building through the pipe leading to the Internet. For the most part, companies realize this extra burden on their Internet connection and take action by buying more bandwidth. Purchasing bandwidth makes sense in markets where bandwidth is cheap, but is not always possible.
Companies are realizing they cannot afford to have gridlock into their Cloud. Network administrators understand that at any time an unanticipated spike in bandwidth demand could overwhelm their cloud connection. The ramifications of clogged cloud connections could be catastrophic to their business, especially as more business is performed online. Hence, we are getting preemptive inquiries about ensuring their cloud service will prioritize critical services across their Internet connection with a smart bandwidth shaper.
We are also getting inquiries from businesses that have fallen behind and are unable to upgrade their Internet pipe fast enough to keep up with Cloud demand. This cyclical pattern of upgrading/running out of bandwidth can be tempered by using a bandwidth shaper. As your network peaks, your bandwidth shaper can ensure that available resources are shared optimally, until you upgrade and have more bandwidth available.
Although moving to the Cloud seems to introduce a new paradigm, from the world of network optimization, the challenges are the same. Over the years we have always recommended a two-prong approach to optimization: 1) adequate bandwidth, and 2) bandwidth shaping. The reason for our recommendation continues to be the same. With bandwidth shaping, you are ensuring that you are best-positioned to handle peak traffic on your network. And now, more than ever, as business goes “online” and into the Cloud, and both your employees and your customers are on your network, bandwidth shaping is a prudent insurance policy to providing a great experience on your network.