Networking

How do you make the case for more bandwidth?

Organizations of all sizes deal with the challenge of trying to push more out of existing investments. One stopping point can be Internet connectivity or site-to-site bandwidth. Rick Vanover shares some thoughts and opens this discussion up to TechRepublic members.

Last week, I had the honor again to attend the VMworld conference in San Francisco. VMworld isn’t just about virtualization any more. If you haven’t heard, one of the key themes of many messages revolves around cloud technologies.

I am quickly developing a preference for a collection of private cloud solutions. A private cloud solution will be more easily adopted for many organizations by the simple fact that data does not leave their infrastructures. There is truly an amazing array of options for the infrastructure administrator today when it comes to architecting private cloud solutions.

The one theme that seems to come back to me each time is bandwidth. The first of these challenges is site-to-site connectivity. If site-to-site bandwidth is high, so many options are made available with ease. This includes robust off-site backups to another resource in your environment, replicated workloads, dual-production sites instead of production and disaster recovery sites and more. The other challenge is Internet bandwidth. Most connections are adequate for download traffic, but the new grail revolves around upload backup. That’s key to utilizing a public cloud-based data protection solution, which may be a good ease of entry technology. Some organizations and geographic locations are given situations that make bandwidth readily available or inexpensive. Jason Hiner’s recent poll had over 2,500 TechRepublic responses and 66% report that their home Internet connection was faster than their work connection. As an Infrastructure administrator, that is disturbing.

In talking with other administrators at VMworld, it was clear that I am not the only one dealing with these challenges. This is made more complicated as infrastructure teams may not be the same teams that manage (and pay for) these network connections within an organization. Anyone who has gone through a budget process knows that it can be difficult to get another group to increase their costs for your project.

The next step is to go about achieving more bandwidth. One approach is to make a service catalog and engage application owners in the support for more bandwidth. This can give legitimacy to the request as well as expose concerns that may not be able to be addressed otherwise. Another strategy is to utilize better technologies to achieve these goals, such as compression and de-duplication before transfer over a network for large data migrations.

How do you go about the battle for bandwidth? Please 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.

32 comments
AG4IT
AG4IT

If you are not in a position to add more bandwidth to your infrastructure, but are still interested in Cloud computing or VDI for remote users, you might want to look at Ericom Blaze, a software-based RDP acceleration and compression product that provides improved performance over WANs and congested LANs. Besides delivering higher frame rates and reducing screen freezes and choppiness, Ericom Blaze accelerates RDP performance by up to 25 times, while significantly reducing network bandwidth consumption over low-bandwidth/high latency connections. Ericom Blaze works with any standard RDP host, including VDI, Terminal Servers and remote physical machines. You can read more about Blaze and download a free evaluation at: http://www.ericom.com/ericom_blaze.asp?URL_ID=708 Adam

kjmartin
kjmartin

The best argument is that higher bandwith means quicker facebook updates or uploads, quicker Itunes downloads, and less time streaming the latest viral video. All this leads to workers spending less time on the internet and more time on work.

ngiacona
ngiacona

You Don't! The technology needs to change, look what bluetooth did, this guy talked somebody into using his idea, why not change the technology it's going need to happen now before the bandwidth crunch gets here! It happened in the early days of the internet, it can happen again. Time to put on the thinking caps and change the future of how the data gets tranformed from point A to point B ! Later! Nicholas

Tink!
Tink!

At one point I was told our block was on the list to be upgraded (so that we could get higher speeds of DSL) but that never happened. My family would love it if we could get higher speed especially when 4 of us are online at the same time. Now how do I spur the phone company into thinking it needs to upgrade the cables?

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

There's really no comparison. With my business connection, I pay for 99.999% uptime and 100% of the bandwidth I purchase to be available at all times. At home I have no such guarantee. My bandwidth is shared with the yahoos in my complex and if the Internet goes down, Knology will get to it when they get to it.

shanechao
shanechao

You can make the case that time is money. If it takes a employee a certain amount of time to transfer data, how much time would be spent waiting. Show your due diligence and note that there is data that can be move asynchronously e.g. remote backups, DB replication This will show management you're not just frivolously wanting more but put some good thought and planning into it. Know how much data you need to push through your pipes and give a reasonable estimate for growth. Shop around. There's often a price break at higher tiers of service, which can be cheaper in the long run. Longer term contracts can also lower your costs but verify that the vendor is reliable so you're not stuck with a loser for two to three years.

dallas_dc
dallas_dc

First things first. You need to determine whether you have a bandwidth problem or something else is the cause. You will look pretty stupid if you ask the company to spend more money, and not see any improvement. What is your bandwith utilization? Are there a few high peaks? If so, why? Is it an application issue? With regard to Internet Access, you are probably wasting a lot of bandwidth if you make your company Internet access (with 1500 users) always outperform your home Internet access via fiber. We have had numerous requests for more bandwidth (WAN) for remote branches in Europe or Asia (we are in the US), when they are not using what they have. Their performance issues have to do with latency, not bandwidth. This problem is better addressed with devices like Riverbed to prioritize and accellerate the traffic, or Citrix, to reduce the traffic.

stubones99
stubones99

Is there an "average" of bandwidth per desktop in the US?

tracy.walters
tracy.walters

Document document document. Use tools to measure utilization of available capacity, response lag time, dropped packets, and even document user experience. It may take time, but with enough data showing you have an issue, the bean counters have to come up with good reasons not to invest in bandwidth. By the same token, do the business a favor, and document it. Monitor and control streaming audio and video...two of the biggest bandwidth hogs. Document this, also, and when you ask for to increase bandwidth, it will show you have been proactive.

delphi9_1971
delphi9_1971

Home connectivity may have higher numbers on the download, but when you look at those technologies they're asymmetric. So the upload speeds are much lower than the download and that download speed is slower than the office connection. this is an unfortunate user perception. Also, the reason company networks are slower is because they're more expensive due to: 1: Symmetric Connections (E.G. Up and Download speeds the same). 2: Support. Try getting a guarantee of 90% up-time from your Cable or DSL provider. 3: Privacy and Security. Most companies opt for Layer2 or Layer 3 solutions that isolate their traffic from their vendor's other customers traffic. Which starts to become required when you talk about PCI and HIPPA compliance. When you add these extra features the cost of bandwidth at compatible ranges in the office to the home it becomes clear as to why home often has "more". Lastly if you actually do bandwidth analysis in your company you may find that you're really not using all that BW either. Where I work we have offices with 60+ employees connected to our Data Center with 10 Mbps pipes. Most of these offices rarely spike above 5 Mbps. So is it worth it to buy more, usually no. So I think you shouldn't find it "disturbing" that someone at home has "more" bandwidth when you start to look at it from this perspective.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

until one of the "big bosses" has troubles uploading videos of their family to YouTube and asks for help...then you do your sales pitch for more upload bandwidth!

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

A month ago my Knology cable connection was crap. I couldn't even watch Youtube without buffering every second or so. So I called them and bitched about the fact that I was paying over $100 a month and getting slower than DSL speeds. "Miraculously" two weeks later not only did performance improve, but my bandwidth doubled.

ckelly
ckelly

Two of us at the house on Windstream DSL has little to do with my 45m pipe at work for 2500 students + fac/staff. I could double it tomorrow and it still wouldn't be "like the house". Try explaining that to a student that never pays the bills and has been raised in a broadband house. The traffic load, purpose and equipment required are nothing alike, so comparing home connectivity to business connectivity is a bogus comparison IMHO.

bulldurn
bulldurn

I agree with dallas_dc. I have the same issue here; corporate office in Europe and office in US. Latency appears to be our issue and our ISP and other guru companies state that MPLS is the only way to cut latency but the price is very high. Currently have a T1 line and about to add another by corporate demand. Current T1 use average never exceeds 40% with spikes. Ping corporate will show how terrible it is >140 but as high as 1100ms. Yes, ping is the last to go but should give realistic measures, right? So now comes the hurry up and wait game. Don't get it wrong, its not a blame game but to say: next step is to....

Alessandro Dellavedova
Alessandro Dellavedova

There are also other factors that come into play: - DNS resolution time; - ISP routing policies/POP congestion. Before buying an appliance you should work with the ISP in order to understand where's the problem. Cheers,

dazadd99
dazadd99

Here in the UK I here this statement many times from all levels in the business. I agree that people see just a number and have no real understanding of what else is involved in assessing the connection. Many homes in the UK used to have standard 50:1 contention ratios - could you really imagine sharing your connection so at peak times your 20mb/s drops to 4 or 5mbs if your lucky?

Andy M
Andy M

I'm one of those who does have a higher internet connection at home than at work. I'd love it if work had 10 Mbps pipes, or even 5 Mbps. They have a 1 Mbps (yes, for both down and up). My home connection has 3 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up, dedicated, and bandwidth tests prove it. However, if business had 10Mbps pipes I couldn't keep up at home, because residential access at those speeds is simply not offered where I live. It's not yet offered where I work, either (though they could certainly do far better than 1Mbps). I work at a manufacturing facility, so we're on the low end of the bandwidth spectrum I'm sure. Businesses in other market sectors will prioritize internet pipes differently, certainly. You raise good points, but I think it's important not to dismiss the survey results too quickly. I think most people taking the survey would tend to be on the more knowledgeable side about bandwidth considerations due to the audience TechRepublic writes for.

stubones99
stubones99

home bandwidth is seldom committed bandwidth and therefore varies based on how many file hogs are in your area. Commercial bandwidth is usually based on committed bandwidth, some also allow bursting to exceed committed bandwidth as well. Shared bandwidth takes advantage of the chaos of nature. More than likely, everyone's prime usage time isn't going to be the same time, so shared bandwidth works. If there are simultaneous peaks, everyone works with less available capacity.

martin.langmaid
martin.langmaid

We have 30+ sites and have managed to do all of our site to site with cheap DSL - how? We use link balancers - specifically those from peplink to aggregate bandwidth in both directions. On one site we have 10 cheap 10DSL circuits from a couple of different ptoviders, giving us 45Mb down and nearly 10Mb Up that terminates into two 10Mb Leased circuits at our head office. The remote site costs us ?300/month in DSL fees. Its an swesome approach to adding more bandwith as you need it. Plus if one of the links fail we're not in a mess because we have 9 more, and splitting them across providers allows for BC in the event of billig errors or a single ISP network failure. At head office we have a pair of Peplink 1350's that are in a HA cluster connected to both 10Mb leased circuits. Failover is under a second - users on live voip calls don't even notice anything has failed.

ruby.otero
ruby.otero

yeah definitely we have to justify the need for more bandwidth not only internet connection. As for my current project im into scouting a local provider that will give us bandwidth for our site to site connection which is connection from 2 diff city. And this is the first attempt to implement site to site or local loop. We dont have problem in justifying the need to implement it, its just that we have to explain in details the difference between internet connection to local lease and what will be the redundant service if there is. Since this is my baby project i might need some advise from you guys..... what other factors do i have to see and review. TIA...

b4real
b4real

I would probably prefer the pro-active approach but can see that as very effective.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

If you want to help things along, promote social networking as an efficiency enabler....

mcagirouard
mcagirouard

I do understand exactly what you're saying. Without a central IT environment (domain) can be very anoying on a daily basis, expecially each workstations performs individually their own updates and broadcast sessions over a peer-to-peer network and via DSL. As for myself working as a tech for two radio FM stations geographically dispersed with two LAN network linked together via PPTP VPN tunneling with minimal budget can be difficult at time when it comes to ask for an increase in the badwidth.

wbaltas
wbaltas

With the number of tools available today, it is very easy to measure bandwidth utilization of a circuit. When this percentage is low, additional bandwidth will not make an application run faster. If the problem is cause by latency, the application developers and DBAs have to work together to fix the problem. Several years ago I worked on a problem where bandwidth utilization on a circuit was 15 percent, but because it "was only 10 mbps circuit," we couldn't convince anyone that increasing bandwidth utilization would not the problem. We ended up upgrading to 100mbps Ethernet and later gigibit Ethernet with the same results. After another $50000 consultant looked at the network, application, and database it was revealed that the application was the problem. I will thank the company for doing this exercise, because the $50000 consultant was a really great teacher. He really taught me a lot about application analysis at the protocol level. I've been able to use that to really help our developers build better code over the years. Bill

mattlieblong
mattlieblong

We have 70 offices across across our state. In our situation we are looking at the massive user-perspective improvement of the circuits by moving to broadband vs. the aging and over priced frame relay/fraction systems available. The minimal overhead and latency of running hardware vpn's over broadband is vastly outweighed by the 10x-20x speed increases. There may be more latency, but there is 80% improvement overall, so it's faster and cheaper still. We are a primarily downstream entity anyways, so we don't need symmetrical circuits. Cloud logic is primarily downstream traffic anyways, so you only need heavy upload b/w at your server location(s). The spectrum is heavily affected by number of sites and users per site.

langstonha
langstonha

I know that the cloud is coming so we must have more bandwidth to up and download. I just know that the fastest connection is only as fast as the slowest point much like FSB. I'd like to see everyone going to fiber.

dlovep
dlovep

Who wants to sit on Economic Class ? If you can afford the so-called Business Class, its lot more comfortable, more wider, more pleasure, more reliable, more expensive. You can use Business broadband at home, who cares if only you can afford it. Sometime things come up without choices, while some are different case to save money by using home broadband. This isnt a comparsion, it's just FACT, so face it buddy~

wbaltas
wbaltas

Backup is an application that needs and uses a lot of bandwidth. Please remember that bandwidth is the amount of data that can be placed on the wire at one time, and as a general rule a backup is not latency sensitive. Latency describes how long it takes the packet to go from one system to another (usually in milliseconds). Window size determines, how much data the server or client can receive at one time. Throughput combines all three of the above in one measurement. It is possible to get a high bandwidth circuit with a very high latency, i.e. A fiber circuit that runs across the pacific ocean can have a very high bandwidth but also a high latency. Bill

wbaltas
wbaltas

Let me grab some of my notes, and I'll write up a short description of the issue. If it starts to get too long, we can exchange information via e-mail.

b4real
b4real

Why even bother a cloud or online backup if we don't have the bandwidth to transfer the data?

ruby.otero
ruby.otero

im just curious to ur problem? can u share it on details? ur can i PM u instead?

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