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Video & Software Updates Don’t Need To Overwhelm Your Enterprise Network


December 16, 2014 - 1 Comment

Guest post from Lorenz Jakober

Lorenz Jakober - Akamai

Lorenz Jakober, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Akamai Technologies. Responsible for the product marketing of Akamai’s Cloud Networking product line, Jakober brings a wealth of experience focused on cloud networking architectures, web and mobile application design, performance optimization, usability, and content delivery.

Video growth is overwhelming the enterprise network

We have all been there. At work trying to watch the live company all-hands video, or the latest training, or perhaps even the latest YouTube video. But all we end up with are pixelated videos that take forever to start and constantly re-buffer. The workplace video experience can be abysmal if the WAN is not ready. Most of us will avoid a painful experience like that. Or, if we need to watch the content, suffer through it and spend extra time re-playing it until we can get the message. Talk about engaging employees and improving productivity! In all likelihood, at the same time, the IT team has been watching their network choke on all the additional video traffic. And as we all know we are just at the beginning of the video growth curve with HD everywhere, 4K, “engaging video training”, etc. Cisco, for example, forecasts that by 2018 IP video will represent 79 percent of all traffic globally.
Cisco VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast

Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect Enhances the Video Experience in the Branch

Luckily, there is a solution that can save enterprise networks from the deluge of video data, and not to mention protect the sanity of network admins everywhere. Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) with Akamai Connect integrates WAN optimization and intelligent HTTP object caching technology directly into the Cisco Integrated Services Router with Application Experience (ISR-AX) at the branch to accelerate HTTP applications, video, and content while offloading the enterprise network. In other words you can cache and deliver HTTP video from the ISR-AX in the branch for fast, high-quality video experiences while offloading the enterprise network.

For example, one of our joint retail customers wanted to stream YouTube videos to their digital signage across hundreds of stores globally. Before they implemented Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect, the video had very lengthy startup times, quality was bad, and had frequent re-buffers. Upgrading the stores’ network bandwidth was not an option. In this particular case the IT mantra of “doing more with less” was in full effect. The retailer leveraged Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect to cache YouTube videos locally in the store and as a result, improved video quality and performance while freeing up bandwidth for their other omni-channel apps.

Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect

Obviously not all organizations are using YouTube to deliver video inside the enterprise. The good news is the solution can also support on-demand and live video from other sources, including your corporate data center. For example one of our customers, a global enterprise software provider, delivers live corporate video over their enterprise network. In fact they serve close to 70,000 end-users across ~200 branches globally. The problem: end-users in the remote offices (e.g. South America and Asia) were suffering from significant enterprise network congestion and video quality issues with frequent re-buffering and slow load times. After implementing Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect, the software provider could cache live (& on-demand) HTTP video fragments on the ISR-AX in the branch, significantly improving performance and more importantly offloading the enterprise network. In fact, the IT team seemed happiest about the reduction in IT tickets generated during live corporate video events…

Cisco and Akamai Connect

Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect Caches Software Updates to Offload the WAN

Another large and growing portion of enterprise network traffic, particularly when iPads & iPhones are deployed, are software updates. Apple’s latest iOS update was ~1.1GB up from ~700MB and ~600MB for the previous software updates. Now imagine this multiplied by 5, 10, perhaps even 50 iPads in one location downloading a 1GB+ software update each over the enterprise network – all happening the same day. To most this looks like a recipe for disaster. Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect to the rescue! Akamai Connect can help by caching Apple iOS and OS X updates locally on the branch router not only offloading the enterprise network but also improving download performance.

WAN offload

With Cisco IWAN and Akamai Connect, delivering high-quality video experiences to your employees or even customers in your branches or stores has never been easier. Using this solution, you can cache and deliver HTTP video from the ISR-AX in the branch for fast, high-quality video experiences while offloading the network. And when it comes to WAN offload, being able to deliver Apple iOS and OS X updates directly from the router in the branch can have a major impact on enterprise network capacity and utilization. Sounds like a win-win situation: better end-user experiences while offloading the enterprise network.

Find out more about Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect

 



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1 Comments

  1. Prudent move, IMHO. Couple of different but complementary acceleration technologies have been combined and leveraged with Cisco MATE to give enhanced user expeience. At first glance, CDN and WAN acceleration may seem to be similar technologies since both serve content when possible from a replication close to the user, to eliminate delay and cost of fetching it from the original server andserving it at high bandwidth almost instantaneously from a locally cached copy. A WAN acceleration cache benefits from the reuse of content, for example, when another user has fetched the content recently, but the improvement is limited by the number of concurrent users (the fewer users, the lower the chance that the content has been accessed recently), and by how the content is structured (the more personalized the content, the less likely the same content will have been accessed by another). The impact of CDN can be much higher because content can be pre-positioned in the cache (avoiding the need for another user to have fetched it recently), and because the content can be transformed or rewritten to have a higher hit ratio. Akamai is already active in CDN space to maximize the performance of Akamai-served content, and automates the process when possible. Very well thought out product development, IMHO. Cheers santanu