Infrastructure Strategies '06
Optimising bandwidth usage
Data volumes generated by enterprise applications are bloating
and so are bandwidth requirements. Prices may have fallen but the idea is to
consolidate rather than acquire fatter pipes, says Kusum Makhija
access costs have improved Internet penetration and usage. As companies extend
their enterprise wide applications to encompass their primary and secondary
distribution chains, their needs for bandwidth are on the rise.
Stress on consolidation
with falling connectivity prices, enterprises have witnessed increasing demands
for better connectivity among users. Organisations are moving away from just
plain maintenance to actual consolidation and standardisation efforts. This
is a positive sign showing better connectivity infrastructure for enterprises
embarking on these ventures.
Says Satish Mahajan, Senior Manager, IT, Hinduja Group, We
started with dial-up, moved on to leased line and now optical fibre for our
voice and video applications. I think our existing infrastructure is a judicious
mix. We may go for wireless in future but as of now consolidating the existing
setup and getting the maximum throughput is our priority.
Leased line remains prevalent
Leased line remains the preferred
medium for connectivity among enterprise users, followed by ISDN, Dial-up,
DSL, Satellite and Cable
Leased line remains the preferred medium for connectivity
among enterprise users, followed by ISDN, Dial-up, DSL, Satellite and Cable.
57 percent of the respondents are presently investing in leased lines followed
by 34 percent investing in VPNs for interoffice and WAN connectivity. The planned
investment for the next year in these areas is significantly low. This could
be because most companies have established leased line and VPN connectivity
as part of their basic connectivity infrastructure and are now looking at maintenance
RF links and VSATs remain at a constant 26 percent indicating
a stable level of deployment. Most organisations use this as a backup medium
or for remote connectivity where leased lines are not available. Frame relay
and ATM have finally been phased out from the enterprise connectivity map with
very little legacy infrastructure among companies. There is no fresh investment
in these two technologies. There is also an increase in fibre and gigabit Ethernet
for campus connectivity.
Take Eveready for example: the company is using a hybrid of various connectivity
solutions at their premises. For the factory and regional branch offices the
company is using a peer-to-peer leased line connection. They also have a backup
ISDN connection and are using fixed wireless connection over a VPN client for
connecting their warehouses. Eveready is also using VSAT and RF links for remote
Garware Polyester is another organisation using leased line rampantly for interoffice
connectivity. The bandwidth requirements of the company have increased considerably;
from a 64 kbps connection they have moved to a 2 mbps line.
Senior Manager, IT
A network infrastructure that is high on functionality
and low on redundancy is what we all look for. The ever-increasing demand
for bandwidth can be properly utilised with a well-designed network. In
order to get the best uptime and reduce latency, it is important to do
regular auditing of your systems and infrastructure.
VPN is catching up
Leased lines may be ubiquitous; however these have their own problems, mainly
concerning last mile connectivity and latency. Organisations are increasingly
looking at MPLS-based VPN as an alternative medium. MPLS may be a tad more costly
but the high reliability and feasibility it provides compensate for this. As
it is CIOs are not looking at cost as the sole deciding factor for IT investments
Says Vivek Joshi, VP, IT, HDFC Bank, We are looking to invest in MPLS-based
VPN and will gradually replace leased lines. MPLS is quite scalable, easy to
roll out and upgrade, and provides a good granularity for usage. We are running
a pilot project for MPLS VPN and depending upon its success we shall soon begin
phased roll out. As far as Wi-Max is concerned, we have not seen any major successful
commercial rollouts so far. A lot has been said about it but not much has been
VP, Finance & Accounts
We are not planning much investment this year except
consolidating and maintaining our existing infrastructure. Annually we
have roughly about 10 percent of our budgets slotted for bandwidth and
connectivity. Cost, reliability and uptime are the top three priorities
for us when it comes to choosing a connectivity medium. We are happy with
our existing leased line infrastructure as it gives us enough robustness
and are not looking to shift to any other connectivity medium as of now.
My first concern is going to be cost as far as IT investment is concerned.
There is a constant search for better and cost-effective solutions. The
connectivity medium particularly has to be cost-effective and easy to
use, rather than a complex hi-tech medium with its own set of complications.
Applications fuel bandwidth requirement
As far as Wi-Max is concerned,
we have not seen any major successful commercial rollouts so far. A lot
has been said about it, but not much has been seen
ERP leads the pack with more than 65 percent users claiming it to be the key
factor driving the need for bandwidth increase. This is followed by messaging
applications and centralising IT infrastructure. Enterprises are also increasingly
using bandwidth for intranet video conferencing and VoIP applications. Online
training however, is lowest on the list with only 6 percent of the users using
bandwidth for such applications.
is the most bandwidth-hungry application with over 150 users in the organisation
on ERP systems. We are looking to invest in a wireless broadband solution for
WAN connectivity for factories and regional offices spread across 70 locations.
We already have an IP-VPN for remote locations, says Arup Chowdhury, GM
Ajit Inamdar, VP, Finance and Accounts, Garware Polyester
agrees, The ERP application is the most bandwidth-hungry of all, since
it forms the core of the companys enterprise application infrastructure.
ERP is linked to our sales tracking, scheduling and related activities and hence
consumes around 40 percent of bandwidth. The next on the list is the e-mail
application, which consumes 20 percent of the total bandwidth. Both these applications
require 99.9 percent uptime and hence are very crucial.
There is a huge demand in bandwidth usage and the number
of applications is very high. Whatever amount of bandwidth is supplied gets
consumed. Applications like video conferencing are a common thing today,
widely used even by middle-level management and these are very bandwidth-hungry.
The Oracle-based business applications at the client server level demand a lot
of bandwidth followed by messaging and e-mail applications. The load on messaging
applications is very unpredictable; as a result, it is difficult to estimate
specific bandwidth requirement for these. More bandwidth is required for client
server applications than the web-based applications, explains Joshi.
Reliability, feasibility and cost are the important
factors to be considered while choosing a medium for connectivity. Bandwidth
consumption has grown fourfold within a couple of years time. Until
the year before last, 64 kbps was enough per branch; now it has shot up
to 256 kbps, but at almost the same cost. In the banking scenario, practically
every application demands bandwidth, whether it is core banking or the
A driver for bandwidth in the government
sector is the plan to interlink all villages by Internet. This will be
a tremendous market as far as connectivity is concerned
Bandwidth consumption across verticals has been humongous. Interlinking of
branches is being done aggressively by all banks, particularly PSU banks. This
is leading to high demand for bandwidth. ATM networks, inter-bank connectivity
and e-banking are some areas fuelling bandwidth requirements in the BFSI vertical.
The investment in the manufacturing vertical is mainly driven by enterprise
application software deployment like ERP, SCM and CRM to integrate the processes
in the enterprise. The interconnectivity among widespread networks is leading
the organisations towards investing in IP-VPN and VoIP. There is also a high
growth in e-business, which will drive the organisations towards higher cost
efficiencies and economies of scale. As a result of these factors, bandwidth
consumption is on a rise.
The ILD traffic in telecom is growing, leading to increase in voice traffic.
The NLD traffic is leading to more inter/intra circle traffic. More players
are coming into the markets of cellular and basic telephony. Bandwidth demand
is projected to rise exponentially.
The major area for growth in ITES segment is that of voice channels. Growth
in the number of call centres is driving demand for more voice-application-ready
channels. BPO/BackOffice operations are on the rise. This is primarily a data-hungry
field and will lead to more data channels being required. This will lead to
a substantial growth in IT spending and a higher consumption of bandwidth.
A driver for bandwidth in the government sector is the plan
to interlink all villages by Internet. This will be a tremendous market as far
as connectivity is concerned. E-governance will also demand higher connectivity.
PSUs will be the major targets for bandwidth in this segment. Since they are
driving government IT spending, there will be a need for more bandwidth to satisfy
their connectivity requirements.
- Leased line (75 percent) is the most preferred
mode for Internet connectivity followed by ISDN (46 percent) and Dial-up
- Penetration of leased line is as high as 86
percent in IT/ITES.
- Leased line (57 percent) is the preferred mode
of inter-office connectivity followed by Fibre (36 percent) and VPN
- DSL has made steady inroads this year, no doubt
due to BSNL and MTNL.
- In terms of intra/WAN, VPNs are being increasingly
used even though leased lines are most common.
- Frame relay and ATM seem to be out.
- Enterprise-wide applications (65 percent) followed
by messaging server (38 percent) are the top two factors driving the
need for increases in bandwidth.