Interop is just around the corner. I am sure there will be plenty of thought provoking content about how to transform IT, compelling demos, and SDN everywhere. But let’s not forget the reality of most IT organizations today.

The majority face the fact that digital innovation is overwhelming their enterprise network. Everything from internal and external Web apps, SaaS, HD video, software updates, mobile apps and even digital signage are traversing the network eating up valuable bandwidth. Analysts even predict that average enterprise bandwidth requirements will increase by up to 50% per year while 60% of WAN budgets are flat or declining.

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In addition most enterprises seem to subscribe to doing more with less – particularly when it comes to IT – so upgrading enterprise network bandwidth across locations every few years just isn’t viable – both from a budget and agility perspective. That is not to mention that a lot of enterprises can’t upgrade their bandwidth even if they wanted to due to branch location.

But bandwidth constrained networks are only one side of the story – latency is the other. Whether caused by distance or amplified by enterprise network architectures such as backhauling Internet traffic over the WAN through the datacenter out to the Internet. And as we all know high latency is particularly detrimental to Web application performance.

So the bottom line is congested, high-latency, low bandwidth enterprise networks result in slow HTTP/S applications, video, and software updates.

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And we all know that video or apps that are slow or not working properly are bad for business. There has been plenty of research highlighting the fact that as video and apps get slower, engagement decreases, abandonment increases and employee productivity plummets. So it is fair to say slow apps equal unhappy customers and unproductive employees.

So what can IT do today?

Maximize the enterprise network resources you have today. Start by offloading traffic from the enterprise network to free up valuable bandwidth. The most effective approach is to cache content (both byte & HTTP/S object caching) in the branch – ideally on an existing box such as a router. That way you don’t have to worry about managing multiple boxes and you can leverage existing router investments. The added bonus is that you will not only increase available bandwidth but also significantly reduce latency.

So the bottom line is delivering content from the router in the branch will make applications in the branch faster, while maximizing existing enterprise network bandwidth.

But don’t forget to adopt an enterprise network approach that will allow you to evolve. Whether that means supporting new initiatives such as HD video training for all employees, growing enterprise adoption of iOS devices and SaaS, or even adding Direct Internet Access (DIA) to your branches. Your network and by extension IT needs to be agile enough to embrace this evolution and explosion in content, origins, network topologies and consumption models.

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We’ve recently made it easier for customers to get IWAN with Akamai Connect with new pricing on the Akamai licenses as well as bundles with the ISR-AX.  Please view the Akamai Connect Datasheet and the ISR Ordering Guide for more information.

So the bottom line is plan for an enterprise network approach that will provide value today – and – tomorrow. To find out how Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect can help, stop by the Akamai (#1551) & Cisco (#1327) booths at Interop Las Vegas.

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Lorenz Jakober

Senior Product Marketing Manager