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Employees bogging down networks.

Recreational use of enterprise network resources is soaring. Employees' instant messaging, downloading of music and video, and visiting social networking sites and news/sports sites are impacting the performance of business-critical applications--despite the fact that most organizations have policies in place to limit recreational use.

A study conducted at the recent NetQoS annual network performance-management technology conference says such recreational use is a problem on more than 60 percent of networks. The survey canvassed the views of more than 150 network engineers, managers and IT directors within large enterprises, strategic integrators and government agencies who attended.

"While focus in this area has typically been dedicated to employee productivity and IT security, recreational IT use, and particularly the increasing popularity of bandwidth-heavy Web 2.0 services, is now an important network-management consideration," explains Steve Harriman, vice president of marketing at NetQoS.

According to the survey, recreational use is consuming an increasing proportion of network bandwidth, with 73 percent of respondents saying that more than 10 percent of network capacity is consumed by employees' recreational use. More than 50 percent of respondents have seen an increase in recreational use over the last year, with 55 percent of those networks experiencing an increase of more than 25 percent.

Alongside growing recreational use, other trends causing performance issues include the increasing complexity and volume of application data, IT convergence, consolidation, and the rising number of remote users accessing the corporate network.

Two companies that are taking steps to improve the delivery of applications across their WANs are Tyco Flow Control and Global Marine & Aviation. Tyco Flow Control has installed Blue Coat ProxySG appliances to optimize its WAN by securing and accelerating critical business applications between its international offices. Global Marine is using Expand Network's Compass Platform to optimize its network for application acceleration, file sharing and disaster recovery.

Tyco Flow Control faced overall productivity issues because the company's WAN connections were saturated, and latency had become a significant performance issue. In addition to solving response time issues, the company wanted to lower its operational costs by optimizing its bandwidth usage.

Blue Coat's appliances helped reduce response times to download files and e-mail attachments by as much as 400 percent. In addition, the company's WAN links now only consume half as much bandwidth.

Since applications are key drivers of Global Marine's business, the company needed to roll out an optimized ERP system for its day-to-day business requirements. One reason Expand's hardware was chosen was its ability to cut down network latency, while accelerating standard and custom JAVA and HTTP applications.

"Today's complex WAN traffic poses a real challenge for organizations," says Jim Metzler, vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates, an IT consulting group. "No matter what an organization's policy on recreational use of IT resources states, network professionals still need the capability to manage WAN traffic to ensure optimal application delivery."
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Title Annotation:Network Optimization; misuse of enterprize network affecting the work environment
Publication:Communications News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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