Do you have a network optimisation strategy?
by Stuart Hardy, business development director of EOH Global Networks Division UK
While cloud-delivered services and modern networks promise huge increases in productivity and business efficiency, in order to get the most out of them you need a strategy to optimise network, application and cloud services performance.
How do you know your network needs optimisation?
Optimisation can be seen as the art of deriving maximum performance from your network infrastructure while ensuring that all business and user requirements are met.
There are certain indications you can look for to determine whether your network needs optimisation:
• Your users complain about the sluggish performance of applications delivered over the network
• Cloud services don’t perform smoothly and reliably
• Your network suffers from congestion during busy times – there doesn’t seem to be enough bandwidth for everyone
• You cannot roll out new workloads or projects efficiently enough to meet business growth
• You have unused hardware even though your overall network is growing
To solve these problems, you first need to gain a holistic view of your entire network environment. This should cover everything, from your physical data centre environment to your network design and on to the user experience.
Ways of optimising your network
Most network underperformance is the result of a combination of latency, TCP/IP inefficiencies and packet loss – these factors combine to produce slow network and application performance.
There are a number of ways to optimise network performance and application delivery, all of which can work together to deliver significant improvements:
The prioritisation of different types of traffic (e.g. web browsing or file transfers), with appropriate bandwidth allocation.
This is the technology that is closest linked to the user experience. It overcomes the inherent problem of latency causing session window size reduction, by providing local receipt or acknowledgement, thus ensuring that the window size remains large.
Caching and data deduplication
These reduce the amount of data that must be sent across the network for backup or work purposes, thus reducing overall bandwidth demand.
Compressing the data reduces its size, allowing it to be transmitted using less bandwidth.
Creating a network optimisation strategy
Developing an effective network optimisation strategy begins with end-to-end monitoring of your network, its performance and the user experience. This will help to identify bottlenecks and network aspects that specifically need optimisation.
Once these areas have been identified and the technical causes isolated (these will usually be related to latency), you can start to develop an optimisation strategy.
Embarking on this can be daunting, so it’s usually best to bring in an outside expert consultant that specialises in network optimisation. Most in-house optimisation efforts result in an enormous amount of work for very little tangible return, making it more prudent to outsource this to specialists from the outset.
This consultant will have the knowledge and experience to create a network optimisation strategy that not only addresses the most common causes of underperformance, but also solves the particular problems that your organisation is facing.
This will allow your business to take full advantage of all the benefits offered by cloud services and network-delivered applications.
Stuart Hardy is the business development director of EOH Global Networks Division UK. Stuart has spent 20 years in the South African telecommunications market working at executive level in and with South African telecommunication companies. He is responsible for developing EOH’s global network and for driving global application and global WAN optimisation for EOH out of the United Kingdom. His contact details are email@example.com or +44 7856 501 896.