Don’t Forget the Broadband

As businesses move more IT assets to the cloud, managed service providers (MSPs) must work with clients to ensure a smooth transition. Businesses have to make adjustments when they adopt cloud models that require some serious planning. Without an MSP’s help, they could end up overlooking some critical details.

An area that businesses often treat as an afterthought in cloud deployments is bandwidth and connectivity. Accessing applications and systems in the cloud typically boosts bandwidth demand—something businesses don’t always prepare for. When that happens, the results are predictable: Cloud-based resources don’t perform as well as they should, and business executives start questioning their value.

And if executives question the value of cloud deployments, they will be less inclined to make investments in the Internet of Things (IoT) or digital transformation projects. This could put them at a disadvantage against competitors who make those investments to modernize their operations.

Proper planning can prevent this outcome. Here are three (of many) best practices to ensure broadband requirements aren’t overlooked:

1. Calculate Bandwidth Increase

Video, streaming media, and big data have greatly strained networks in recent years. Moving critical applications to the cloud can add to that burden, so before a client makes such a move, you’ll need to assess the impact it will have on bandwidth demands and repeat the process for each cloud application.

Then advise clients on how much they need to invest in bandwidth so that each application performs as it should. In some cases, it may simply come down to a boost in internet service, but in others, it could mean provisioning a new Ethernet or fiber connection to handle the added demand.

2. Test Each Application

It’s always a good idea to do a test run when implementing technology that changes how a business handles certain functions. It’s no different when a business moves a critical application to the cloud, or turns on a new one in the cloud. Either way, a controlled pilot can tell you a lot about how that application will perform and how much bandwidth it requires.

While vendors typically provide bandwidth guidelines, a business won’t know exactly how an application will perform until it sees it in action. It isn’t uncommon for an early estimate to be off, so a test can tell you if adjustments are necessary.

3. Think Ahead

Bandwidth requirements have changed substantially with the advent of social media, big data, and streaming. As IoT connections grow, we are sure to see another massive increase in demand. Thankfully, bandwidth is more elastic now, so your clients can make adjustments as needed.

Still, some capacity planning is in order, as is a review of a current infrastructure’s ability to handle future demands. Even with more technologies moving to the cloud, investments in Wi-Fi, the network backbone—or both—might be necessary.

Bandwidth planning is critical to a successful cloud migration. Don’t let your clients make the mistake of treating it as an afterthought.

 

Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades. Recognized as one of the first journalists to cover managed services, Pedro continues to track, analyze, and report on the IT channel and the growing MSP partner community. 

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