At the Oracle OpenWorld trade show last October, John Chambers, Cisco’s chief executive, predicted that “video will be the platform for all forms of communication in IT as we go forward."  In addition, they predict that by 2013, 91% of all network traffic will be voice/video streams.

While that is to be expected from the head of a company that has a vested interest in proliferating video delivery, it is also consistent with a survey that we recently ran here at SolarWinds.  In this survey, we found that:

  • 89% of respondents have deployed some level of video service within their network. 
  • Assessment of network readiness to support video traffic is viewed as critical. 
  • 75% of respondents indicated that video monitoring and troubleshooting are either "Important" or a "Must Have" in their network monitoring system

    So, how does video impact your network and how do you go about ensuring both network performance and video quality?  Don’t think for a minute that because you haven’t built-out a Cisco Telepresence or Polycom system that you are not at risk of video significantly impacting the performance of your network.  The real impact likely will come from the use of desktop video.

    Today, desktop video is very inexpensive to deploy. High quality web cams can be purchased for <$100 or they are already integrated into your laptop. Add free software (like Skype) or a package that may be included with another license (like Microsoft Office Communicator) and voilà, you have deployed video conferencing and the next thing you know is that it is going viral.  Heck, I get a video call from my daughter every afternoon when she get’s home from school.

    So, I ask the question again.  What is the impact on your network of all of this video and how do you ensure network performance and quality? I think that we simply don’t yet know the answer.  Every enterprise will be different depending on their use cases and IT infrastructure.  By pro-actively monitoring your network, you can at least understand the current impact of video and plan for future capacity needs.

    Video and network monitoring can be accomplished with advanced hardware appliances that measure and monitor video call data records (CDRs) in real-time to provide information about utilization patterns and demand trends so that you can start to predict capacity needs. Unfortunately, these products tend to be expensive, hard to deploy, and difficult to use.

    Another more cost effective approach is to use network and traffic monitoring software products such as SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, NetFlow Traffic Analyzer and IP SLA manager.  These products allow you to pro-actively monitor overall network and traffic performance and see detailed statistics such as bandwidth utilization, one-way latency, jitter, loss, and QoS statistics.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.  Are you deploying video on your network?  Are you concerned about the impact?  What are you doing to monitor and manage? What vendors are you using?

    You can go here to learn more about SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, NetFlow Traffic Analyzer, and IP SLA Manager.  All three have a free fully functional 30-day trial for download.

    For another example of video on your network,  feel free to jump in your way back machine and relive the one-hit wonder that inspired the title of this blog.