Forecasting WAN Capacity Amid Global Enterprise Growth

IT best practices for delivering business value

Today I read a new paper published by the Intel IT team that discussed the strategies and best practices we use in managing the wide area network  (WAN) capacity across more than 200 Intel sites in 66 countries.

WAN Capacity.JPG

Honestly, I have to admit that 2 years ago, I'm not sure I would have even known what a WAN was ...  let alone understand how important it is to a global enterprise business.  It is effectively the glue that keeps us connected with each other, with our customers and with the world.  In today's work environment, the business requirements to collaborate, share, interact and back up data are all driving growth in a variety of ways across our network.

Intel's WAN capacity is growing at an average rate of 10% annually and while that does not seem like a lot, consider that this is average and that the growth is not linear at each site ... and if capacity is not available at any one site to meet associated business demand, the consequences can be business limiting.  On the flip side, building out and managing excess WAN capacity can also be business limiting due to cost inefficiencies.

WAN growth drivers affecting Intel IT range from a variety of sources including:

  • More business group use of social media
  • Increased use of virtual tape for backup storage
  • DC consolidation increases remote server access (note we have reduced the number of global DC by 26% since 2008)
  • Increased use of video conferencing and video training
  • Rich media application usage increase
  • Intel silicon design complexity
  • Private cloud implementation and BYOD (more devices on our network)

Intel IT has had to embrace multiple strategies to address this WAN growth and manage business costs while maintaining or improving customer service levels.  The strategy I found particularly interesting was the capacity forecasting and network management tools we are using to predict demand vs capacity (below) giving us valuable business intelligence to ensure our WAN capacity at any given location is sized properly to meet future demand.Intel IT WAN Capacity Forecasting Process.JPG

I invite you to read more about Intelligent WAN Capacity Management at Intel

Chris (@chris_p_intel)