Will Video Kill The CIO?

by drjim on December 16, 2009

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Enterprise Video?

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Enterprise Video?

The world of IT is changing fast and CIOs can easily get surprised when their world is turned upside down. When you become CIO, you are going to have a entirely new set of issues to deal with because of the arrival of one technology that we don’t often associate with IT: video.

Here Comes Video, Are You Going To Be Ready?

Sure we are all used to receiving and interacting with video in our personal lives, but up until the past few years video didn’t play a major role in the enterprise. In case you’ve missed it, that’s all about to change.

The market research company WinterGreen Research tells us that the worldwide market for enterprise streaming video was worth approximately US$2.8 billion in 2008. They are predicting that it will grow to be a US$14.4 annually by 2014. This market is defined to include everything including videoconferencing, virtual tradeshows, digital signage, etc.

Now you might be scoffing saying something like “video’s been around forever, this is no big deal for CIOs”. Ahh, but you’d be wrong — high-definition (HD) video has changed everything. HD has arrived and it’s taking over: reports from the field say that well over 50% of the enterprise videos that are being produced are being filmed in HD.

The Problem With HD

As a CIO, you’re going to be spending a lot of time thinking about HD video. It’s not just because it looks so good, but rather because it’s going to potentially take up so much of your available network resources.

In the old world of standard definition video (SD) a video stream required 1 — 2.5 Mbps. In today’s new world of HD video steams, you’re going to need 4 — 7 Mbps per stream depending on the codec being used and the resolution of the images. Don’t even get me started on what this is going to mean for your data storage needs.

How CIOs Are Going To Have To Deal With HD Video

How can I say this simply: your current network is not going to be able to deal with this kind of bandwidth hog application. However, there’s a very good chance the problem of how to transport multiple HD video streams over your enterprise network is going to sneak up on you. First there will be one stream, then two, then ten. Before you know it, you’ll have a problem on your hands.

Your enterprise HD video users are going to be a demanding bunch. The days of putting up with choppy postage-stamp sized video images are over. Instead, what your customers are going to want will be full-screen smooth video. Monitoring end-user quality of service and having the IT department be able to provide video service-level agreements will become the norm.

High quality video assumes that you have a reliable infrastructure on which to provide it. That means that your IT team is going to have to devote time and energy to finding ways to overcome the two gremlins that haunt video streams: packet loss and jitter as the video information flows over the enterprise network.

What All Of This Means For You

In the old days, a CIO could assume that the here and now was taken care of and he / she could spend their time focused on the future. The arrival of video into the enterprise as well as HD video is creating problems right now.

The surge of bandwidth and network resources that HD video needs will require CIOs to have to quickly react to dynamically changing network conditions. Since the quality of the delivered product is so quickly apparent, a portion of your IT staff will be required to focus on managing video quality metrics.

The challenge of dealing with video on your network is one that you must solve when you become CIO. The solution won’t be easy, and since the amount of video that your network is carrying will continue to grow, you will need to be constantly adapting to a changing situation in order to stay on top of it.

Now that you know what you have to do, make sure that you don’t get surprised!

Do you think that your company will double its use of video over the network by the end of next year? Why?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The next time that you are at one of those cocktail parties that they throw for up-and-coming IT staffers who will someday become the CIO (you go to those don’t you?), do me a favor and listen very closely. I suspect that you’ll overhear a number of pretentious CIO-wannabes throwing around the phrase “virtualization”. Don’t worry about these showoffs, I’ve got something bigger and better for you to throw out there: database virtualization.

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