Networking

Bandwidth allocation: Common-use or dedicated links?

When it comes to provisioning WAN bandwidth, if the legendary inch is given, a mile will be taken. IT pro Rick Vanover weighs pros and cons of dedicated links for certain business services.

Start talking with any cloud provider and if you go so far with any solution, bandwidth will surely become a topic. Take, for example, cloud-based storage where many customers who have gone ‘all-in' on cloud storage have provisioned an entirely separate Internet connection just for the cloud storage route. The traffic to the cloud storage provider is routed explicitly through that designated connection. This also occurs at times with storage grids for data protection strategies where a dedicated link is provisioned for various storage systems that move data around an enterprise.

This leads to a pretty dividing question, should bandwidth be centralized and shared or split up into dedicated point-to-point links for the biggest consumers?

One side of the argument says to put all of the bandwidth in one connection in terms of the most aggregated throughput. And if the carriers can provide redundancy with the bandwidth, this can round out the resiliency of this approach. In this situation, the most total bandwidth can be enjoyed; but there is risk of one consumer taking too much of the bandwidth.

In situations where quality of service (QoS) is just not enough of a granular separation, separate lines for each primary consumer may make more sense. This can come about for many reasons, but costs and cost allocations may be one of the most common. Using an example, a simple way to put this is that if the storage grid consumes almost a connection of its own; then that group should fund their own connection. Take that one step further and ask yourself if you are paying for so much of the connection for your storage technologies, why would you want to have a QoS rule put into place?

I can go either way, and of course the ultimate answer is that it depends. Using separate connections for the largest consumers also allows for failover options to the other connections in some situations.

Where do you stand? Centralize the bandwidth and WAN connections, or split up connections for individual services that consume the most traffic? Share your comments below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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