Big Data and the Accidental Architecture

My wife and I have been lucky to be blessed with three healthy children. We knew we wanted to start a family when we got married and planned well for them. But, despite the fact that we knew what we were getting into, time and again I am surprised at how much different parenting reality is from our original expectations. We constantly joke about how often we do the things we swore we’d never do prior to having kids.

And you’ll have to bear with me but, since I’m a father and immersed in telecom, it’s natural for me to make the connection between raising my daughters and managing networks. The thing is that it’s challenging enough to manage your WAN for workloads that you know about. When you add in all of the unexpected events, just keeping your head above water seems like a success.

Let me give you a real world example. I recently heard about a large financial services institution whose security team decided they could do their job better by installing IP security cameras throughout their facility and connecting them to the corporate network. Great idea, right? Real-time surveillance, relatively low cost equipment and rapid deployment. The problem was that the security team never notified the WAN manager that traffic on the network was about to significantly spike, and consequently the network performance deteriorated nearly to a standstill when the cameras were activated.

While you probably have a good grasp of what your WAN needs to be today, odds are good that you have almost no idea what it will need to be in two or three years.  Throw in those unexpected challenges and you’ve got more than a network problem — you have a business problem. This is why it’s so important to architect a network that has the network intelligence you need to deftly manage business processes now, while maintaining the flexibility to scale painlessly when you need to add new applications and technology. You’re also likely trying to accommodate your mobile users, manage multiple data centers and apply analytics to the ever-increasing volume of traffic on your network, all elements in the rapidly codifying concept known as Big Data. If you don’t get in front of it, chances are you’re going to end up with the kind of accidental architecture you swore you’d never deploy.

So, what’s your experience? When have you been able to get in front of new technology and when were you overwhelmed by it? We’d love to hear your story.

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The Level 3 Editor manages content for Level 3's Beyond Bandwidth blog.

One thought on “Big Data and the Accidental Architecture

  1. Pingback: Don’t allow your Enterprise IT become “Accidental Architecture” « Virtual Internet Blog

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