By Melinda Curran
In my last blog post I outlined one of the best-selling strategies VARs can use for the cloud — deterring costly obsolescence cost of hardware. When making the transition to the cloud, you must first carefully assess your client’s need for bandwidth. There are four bandwidth requirements you must consider.
Size of your client’s data. The larger the files computed through the cloud, the more bandwidth you will need to sufficiently send the data to the data center. Basic text and digital files won’t require large amounts of bandwidth for processing, but larger files, such as CAD architectural files or medical imaging files will need a significant amount of space in the bandwidth pipeline to accommodate a user-efficient speed of downloading.
A company with 20 employees utilizing basic data could operate through the cloud with just 10 Mbps of data, while a company a fraction of that size accessing large, Web-intensive files may require 50 Mbps to support the data-intensive applications. Understanding what will be digitally funneled through the bandwidth pipeline is the most insightful indicator of whether or not your client will need to upgrade bandwidth size.
The extent of current bandwidth usage. What is your client’s online culture and what are user habits? If online browsing, downloading and regular bandwidth-intensive applications such as video conferencing are in use, this must become a factor in determining whether or not there is enough bandwidth to support a cloud service. If current operations are already creeping toward the maximum scalable capacity of a circuit, adding cloud computing will put the network at risk of increased latency and downtime. In this case, you should recommend more bandwidth for a feasible cloud solution.
You will also need to take into consideration your client’s future bandwidth usage. Ask for a three- to five-year forecast of technology plans to ensure bandwidth that can support Web and cloud operations now, can also support them in the future.
Client expectations. Understanding what your client can and cannot tolerate in terms of digital downtime must also be factored into your equation for any potential bandwidth upgrades. How fast is your client currently downloading files? What is the company’s Internet speed? If the client is used to lighting speed, but a cloud solution is installed without bandwidth upgrades, downtime and latency issues are likely to increase, and your client is sure to be dissatisfied with the experience.
Size of the client’s budget. This is where the ROI and client expectations come full circle. If a bandwidth upgrade is necessary based on the prior listed factors, but the customer’s budget is small and expectations for speed are high, the cloud may not be the right solution to ease obsolescence. Because without enough bandwidth to connect the cloud to the end-user, critical data downloading speeds from the cloud will continually fail to meet expectations.
Even if there is enough bandwidth available to service the needs of a cloud transition, when adding cloud computing, it will be important to reevaluate the Quality of Service (QoS) configuration to ensure the most critical applications will remain reliable with the addition of more data. Walk clients through their most critical applications and allocate bandwidth priority to the most mission-critical technologies.
Melinda Curran is the founder and CEO of RCG, a single-source telecommunications provider based in Franklin, Tennessee. RCG collaborates with nationwide carriers to custom-create voice, data and mobility network solutions tailored to a company’s individual needs.