Internet ADO Makes the Video Star

There's a song by the Limousines that always makes me smile. Called "Internet Killed the Video Star," it's a tongue-in-cheek reference back to the 1979 song, "Video Killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles -- the very first music video on MTV.  

There's a song by the Limousines that always makes me smile. Called "Internet Killed the Video Star," it's a tongue-in-cheek reference back to the 1979 song, "Video Killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles -- the very first music video on MTV.  The funny part? Far from killing the video star, the Internet has probably done more for video than any other medium. According Nemertes Research's recently published 2010/2011 benchmark study, more than 80% of companies now rely on IP-based videoconferencing for collaboration, and are looking to extend that capability beyond their organizational borders. Meanwhile, a surprising 50% say they plan to roll out streaming video over the next year.Vendors and service providers are taking note. Session border control vendor Acme Packet recently announced a partnership with Glowpoint to enable secure business-to-business conferencing. And Global Crossing recently acquired Genesis Networks, which operates an IP-based  global video-distribution network.In light of these trends, network managers need to rethink their WAN strategies. Both interactive and streaming video are characterized by high bandwidth, and can double or triple typical branch-office connectivity requirements.Moreover, interactive video is extremely sensitive to latency and jitter, and also sensitive to loss. This means that in addition to planning ahead for increased capacity, network managers need to devote some serious thinking to crafting an application delivery optimization (ADO) strategy.What's ADO? In a nutshell, it's architecting to ensure appropriate, effective delivery of critical applications (including video) to distributed and mobile users.   Effective ADO encompasses application availability and performance as well as security, WAN optimization, and management and monitoring. Products and services that enable ADO include application delivery controllers, WAN optimization devices, QoS and overlay networks.  On the WAN, the most typical ADO models are to have appliances at one (asymmetric) or both (symmetric) ends of the connection to improve traffic flow through some combination of compression and caching, acceleration, traffic conditioning (to mitigate packet loss, for example) and traffic shaping (prioritization). Vendors with appliances that enable ADO on the WAN include Blue Coat, Cisco, Citrix, Exinda, Ipanema, Juniper and Riverbed. Increasingly, virtual appliances are available, too, for example from Blue Coat, Certeon and Citrix.  Carriers can offer QoS and other flavors of optimization in their service clouds, including protocol acceleration, latency mitigation and finer-grain traffic shaping than QoS allows.  (Virtela has been an early mover with a pure in-the-cloud optimization offering, recently joined by newcomers Pareto and Aryaka.). Finally, overlay networks -- such as the ones provided by InterNap, Akamai, and Limelight -- can help deliver IP video.Technology isn't the only thing that has to change. ADO lies at the convergence of several heretofore discrete IT architectures, including security, application design, network infrastructure, mobility and unified communications. This means that IT professionals need to rethink how the teams responsible for these architectures will collaborate to ensure effective application delivery.The bottom line: As IP connectivity becomes ubiquitous, video over IP (both interactive and streaming) is here to stay. Network managers need to design, engineer and organize accordingly. After all, as the song goes: "We can't rewind, we've gone too far."

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