A policy-driven approach is key to making sure video and audio traffic doesn't clog up your network and affect performance of mission-critical apps.
While troubleshooting significant network congestion at a health care organization, networking consultant Terry Slattery wasn't surprised to discover the cause.
The culprits were Pandora, the Internet radio service, and two content delivery networks, Akamai and Limelight Networks. In other words, the network wasn't plagued by performance issues; it simply was being overwhelmed with video and audio traffic.
Adding complexity to the situation was the fact that while the Pandora traffic was obviously not critical, the CDN traffic was less straightforward, as Akamai and Limelight both not only serve up a lot of Web video, they also support Windows updates. So even though the congestion was affecting the performance of critical apps, blocking traffic from the CDNs was not an option.
"They had a lot of traffic being held up," Slattery, principal engineer at networking consultancy Chesapeake NetCraftsmen, said in a telephone interview. "They had to determine what real-time traffic was important to them."
The health care company's experience was emblematic of the extent to which video and audio data traffic have begun to clog corporate networks. In fact, Slattery believes differentiating video and audio from other network traffic has become the biggest challenge companies face in managing their networks today.
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