Sunday, May 13, 2012

Is bandwidth really cheap in India? Is Bandwidth management really required for Indian firms? I7 networks and POC

Is bandwidth really cheap in India? Is Bandwidth management really required for Indian firms? I7 networks and POC J
I have met lot of CIOs and network managers (all in Bangalore) over the last month and first thing they tell you is they don’t worry so much for the bandwidth cost as it is dropping which is great. Question is don’t you hit any traffic clogs & jams, and network performance issues and the answer is an astounding yes and of course they know what products can help them solve network traffic issues (from US companies) and traffic clogs and allow them to manage bandwidth better and see metrics for sure. Bad news is (including Tier 1 CIO who confirmed) they all confirmed that their “costing is next to god and if I am dying because I don’t have it I will buy it and I am not dying so I am not even considering this”. Worse they say that they (the MNCs) don’t understand the Indian specific issues and never offer solutions that will make the Indian network managers and CIOs happy or satisfied. One specific I can give here is an Indian company with more than 7000 employees wants to log both user-wise and internal IP-wise but one offers only user level and other only IP Level and worse both are very expensive solutions even for a 7000+ employee company (with close to $1/2B revenue).
So basically it is not the issue of cheap bandwidth or not, but recognizing the fact that there are multiple times called peak times when traffic blows over the roof top and managing traffic at those time proactively rather than reactively is critical for running the business smooth and keep the folks productive. For that YES there is a definitive need for traffic management solution without doubt but at a price point which makes sense for Indian customers – was their unified cry.
Let’s analyze some of the issues raised by the IT department across companies in India (I have talked to various verticals from services company to product based to manufacturing and from 100 employee company to 10,000+ employee company to and from Indian based companies to big MNCs),
1.    Their biggest concern is controlling what their employees do over the bandwidth be it movie or software downloads, p2P, social networks, pornography, gambling, business application, video streaming, accessing cloud applications etc and there are times when all these hits the roof and don’t know how to control nor somehow allow access to all these but not affect the business critical applications. Their initial reaction was to not allow any and all of these entertainment and non-biz applications (which they love to as part of better IT management) but they have the HRs and CEOs breathing down their throats to NOT do that as today’s generation’s great talent are not easy to get and worse very very tough to retain and they expect among many things is constant access to internet. Their other solution was to split the internet (many companies have done that in India) with business critical applications on line1 and entertainment applications on line 2 but the trouble is finding which is business apps and which are entertainment apps is very tough and the line differentiating them is greying out and there are many instances when someone comes and convinces them that YouTube is a business critical application and has to go over line1 and worst is they don’t have a device which recognizes the app (app recognition software) which can easily recognize and differentiate what is business critical and what is not in that given customer environment. Moreover today with so many cloud offerings and with the gray line vanishing very fast between what is business critical and what is entertainment and with technology advances, and with people getting smarter to fool the traditional firewalls on accessing business critical line to access entertainment traffic, IT managers are finding this way of solution (splitting) is not working anymore.
2.    The second issue they are facing is that the internet applications are growing at an unbelievable exponential rate and trying to block, allow all of them is becoming unbelievable complex and worse many of these applications are becoming very selfish – that is to say that these app that from time to time downloads a lot of data and does it as fast as it can regardless of the needs of other apps on the network. Ofcourse you can say that most apps are selfish but today almost every employee has many such apps which are running 24X7X365 downloading automatically massive amounts of data over the limited bandwidth be it flash updates, or iOS or other such OS refreshes or so many such updates and downloads. The data sets have gotten bigger day by day, and the number of users is growing daily almost exponentially in India. Actually there are demos and examples all over the internet showing how just how YouTube can suck up the complete available network bandwidth. So they are really interested to managing their WAN bandwidth and like to start. Dynamic classification, prioritizing traffic and managing the existing bandwidth better rather than buying more bandwidth is the solution. With increasing bandwidth capacity, cost is not the only issue but managing bigger and many bandwidths is pain and lot of hidden costs.
3.    BYOD and issues: The other issues they are facing is increasingly people are getting their own devices to work be it Smartphone’s or iPads or similar such devices. The problem is compounded by even visitors and contractors bringing in their own devices and expecting access to the Internet and internal resources. It can be further exacerbated by heavy use of SaaS applications. Network managers’ wants total control over the bandwidth before it becomes chaotic and unmanageable and they want solutions which can chart all of such usage, such devices and better control the traffic.

4.    Proactive alerts of when the traffic hits peak: Another issue that was uncovered was that all of the companies hits these peak times and there is no way out, but major issue for them was if they could somehow get proactive alerts and with clear data/metrics on what is causing it, then they can act upon it asap and prevent the clog could have happened.
5.    Very good metrics at IP level, user level, application level, project level and at different positions level too (network managers to IT managers to CIOs and CXOs) they say are the need of the hour.
6.    With IT and internet laws changing especially in India with what not to go and what to go, IT managers are in the eye of the storm more than ever and they need solutions that can clearly have complete control on what is happening on their bandwidth and what kind of data is moving to & fro.
I have listed the top 6 but there are many such issues and many very India specific and very common among all companies here vertical and size agnostic.
I7 networks in fact solves all of the above six issues and much more in a very innovative way (some of the solutions are in the process of applying for patenting) especially keeping Indian customers in mind and keeping Indian price points also in mind. It provides the flexibility of either getting it with a onetime payment (Capex) or with a Quarterly subscription payment (Opex).  We believe strongly that i7 networks provide the best solution for Indian customers. It gives customers the ability to manage and visualize the traffic over their bandwidth and also clearly recognize and distinguish at the application level which most routers, firewall providers or security devices won’t offer (the QoS at this granular level but if they try to do, will hurt the performance of their core focus badly and will end up messing all of their offerings J )
Also if you are interested in doing a POC (proof of Concept) please do contact us at and we will be glad to help.