London 2012 Olympics will Impact Middle East Businesses Unless Precautionary Measures are Taken – Report
Blue Coat report shows that media streaming of Olympics by employees will result in wasted bandwidth, down-time of mission-critical systems with resulting lost revenue, decline in employee productivity and increased IT staffing levels
August 5, 2012 3:25 by Colin_Saldanha
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 18, 2012 – Beginning July 27, the 2012 London Olympic Games will have a major impact on businesses throughout the world and here in the Middle East, according to a recent report by Blue Coat Systems.
The Event and the Trends
On July 27th, athletes from more than 200 countries will compete for more than 300 gold, silver, and bronze medals in 36 sports. In the Middle East, the Olympics will run through 11 weekdays (out of a total of 17 days) and enterprises will feel the impact of live and delayed video transmission of events that users can easily access while at work.
Dave Ewart, Director of Product Marketing at Blue Coat Systems says, “Using workplace computers or mobile devices (BYOD smartphones or tablets), employees will be watching live video of their favorite sport competitions and playbacks of the events they missed. This will lead to lower network utilization, misallocation of budget and capacity, slow or unresponsive applications and – importantly – end-user performance complaints”.
BYOD and the Olympics
For the past 18 to 24 months, network administrators have been experiencing the impact of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon. Given that a number of broadcasters have developed mobile applications to deliver Olympics videos to Apple iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets, and Windows Mobile devices, there will be a pre-Olympics impact as BYOD users rush to download these apps ahead of the opening ceremonies. The iPhone/iPad app is 14.9 MB and the Android application is 11MB. Given that a number of carriers have forced the mobile vendors to limit downloads to non-carrier connections, network administrators will see an impact on network traffic as users download these applications to their mobile devices.
Business and Network Impact
Enterprises that don’t have the proper tools and policies in place to control recreational content can see that it consumes 30 to 60 percent of the average business-hour bandwidth. The Olympics will generate more than 3500 hours of live streaming video content. At an average of 500Kbps for live streams, Olympic coverage could push recreational consumption of capacity to 90 percent for some sizes of links; add that to baseline enterprise traffic, and many links will be 100 percent saturated. This can have catastrophic effects on the business. Utilization spikes like this lead to slow or unresponsive applications and end-user performance complaints. The overall result is lower productivity, excess IT costs to troubleshoot and resolve performance problems, and misallocation of budget and capacity.
Mitigating the Impact of Recreational Traffic: Visibility, Control, Optimization and Security
For many companies with operations scattered throughout the world, mitigating the impact of recreational traffic, including Olympics coverage, is a serious challenge. When 30 to 60 percent of bandwidth and budget is spent on YouTube and related network traffic, it creates a fundamental misalignment for the business. If no effort is made to reduce the effects of recreational video on network connections, the 2012 Olympics will have a “follow-the-sun” impact on business operations for two weeks. To mitigate this impact – while not incurring the wrath of working sports enthusiasts – network administrators need three essential capabilities:
Visibility: A real-time, granular view into network traffic
To manage application traffic on networks you must be able to see it in a granular fashion that lets you differentiate internal applications from web-based applications and content. Information that traffic is coming via Port 80 or Port 443 doesn’t help you to understand what’s impacting internal applications. Your visibility into network traffic must be granular enough to let you identify it by flow (business vs. recreational) and in real time, so you can see traffic bursts, respond quickly, and see instant results.
Control: The ability to prioritize and segment network traffic
Granular visibility of network traffic is only half the equation for managing the network. To ensure that business-critical applications meet users’ expectations, maintain productivity, and are not impacted by recreational traffic, traffic must be segmented and prioritized. Control should build on visibility by enabling network administrators to partition traffic and prioritize by business value. It would help network administrators to restrict Olympics video to a small but reasonable portion of network bandwidth so it neither impacts business applications nor incurs the wrath of sports enthusiasts (including vice presidents and senior directors).
Acceleration: Mitigate the impact of video traffic on the network
Caching of on-demand Olympic video to reduce the impact of multiple employees watching the same videos. Two phases of acceleration/ optimization are needed to mitigate the impact of the Olympics on network traffic – and to keep users from blaming IT. Phase One will be the one or two weeks before the Olympics when BYOD users realize that they need to download an application to their mobile devices to access Olympic news and videos from regional broadcasters. Phase Two starts with the Olympics opening ceremony video (live or on-demand). The impact on network bandwidth can crush all other applications.
In summary, the enormous volume of recreational video generated by the 2012 Olympics will have a major impact on enterprise networks. If not controlled, this traffic can overpower and disrupt mission-critical business applications for a full two weeks this July. The cost, in terms of consumed bandwidth capacity, poor application performance, lost productivity, and even customer confidence and revenue, could be huge. Companies in the Middle East require network visibility, control, optimization, and security to perform effectively during this event – and any future event.
About Blue Coat Systems
Blue Coat Systems provides Web security and WAN optimization solutions to 85 percent of FORTUNE Global 500 companies. As the market share leader in the secure web gateway market, Blue Coat sets the standard for enterprise security. Its solutions provide the visibility, protection and control required to optimize and secure the flow of information to any user, on any network, anywhere. For additional information, please visit www.bluecoat.com.
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For more information, please contact:
Manal Abi Rafeh
Blue Coat Systems ME
Telephone: +971 4 3911620
Fax: +971 4 3911635
Email: [email protected] Coat.com
Dubai – UAE
GSM: +971 (50) 6400762
Email: [email protected]