Let’s take a step back from the usual infrastructure design conversation and dive into a new architecture metric: end-user performance. Often, some of the best cloud and virtualization designs fail to take the end-user into consideration. Sure, they’ll understand the workload or what needs to be delivered. But what about truly optimizing the computing experience of the user when the data reaches its destination?
Creating a platform with the end-user in mind is somewhat of a new, backwards, approach to creating a full on solution. Although not all encompassing, some of the following technologies and solutions can play a big role on how the end-user processes and manipulates data on their end.
- WAN Optimization. This is something that we actually cover fairly regularly. WAN optimization has come a long way in helping data get from one point to another faster and with better manageability. Good WAN optimization technologies don’t only help data transfer – they help that information arrive faster. Resulting in happier and more productive end-users.
- Switch and Network QoS. QoS on the LAN and WAN has been used since the technology was introduced. Prioritizing traffic based on their demand is a crucial part of keeping the right data transmitting at the right speeds. Whether its video conferencing or VoIP – QoS can help speed up network data transmission. Here’s one more note – make sure to set QoS metrics on your wireless architecture as well. Proliferation of wireless devices has created density headaches for some wireless controllers – always keep an eye on how many users are connecting and how you can continue to optimize those sessions.
- User Virtualization. User virtualization basically abstracts the hardware layer from the user. This means that all user settings are transferred between operating systems, software components and end-point devices. This gives the user the freedom to know that their software settings will remain whether they’re using an iPad or a Windows-based machine. Remember, allowing the user to carry their settings in their “pocket” also lets you integrate better with cloud resources. This makes the user a lot more agile with their apps and data sets.
- Mobility/BYOD. Organizations are actually creating projects with BYOD and mobility at the forefront of their thinking. The mentality now is “how can we enable our user base to use their devices and rely on us less?” This is where BYOD and efficient control mechanisms are set in place. BYOD can be a very powerful end-user performance enhancer – when properly managed, of course.
- Profile Controls. Almost every IT engineer has had to work with a profile at one point or another. With so many different systems out there, managing a user’s profile has become challenging. This is where software tools can really come into play. Controlling a user’s personal settings, profile metrics and other variables within a user setup can stop profile corruption and create a smooth profile management system. Users enjoy having their personal backgrounds, icons in a specific spot or other elements of personalization. Granular profile control can help transfer those settings seamlessly.
- Content Redirection. This is all about latency control. There are no technologies out there which can help gauge latency and allow the administrators to render content either server-side or client-side. Why is this important? Because this process can be done dynamically! Creating a transparent environment for the user while still delivering high-end content will make the user happier and more apt to use the system.
- Data “on-demand.” We now reside in an always-on society. There is a direct need for data to be available at all times on any device. So, how can IT administrators accommodate? Better cloud-based file sharing technologies are becoming available where there is a direct capability to tie into the copperplate network for security and better delivery. Integration with security policies, AD and even mail systems are taking technologies like ShareFile in a whole new direction.
Creating a positive computing experience has always been a goal of the IT department. After all, a happy end-user is one that won’t be calling help desk. Still, organizations are trying to continuously improve that experience with concepts like BYOD, optimization mechanisms and incorporating WAN-based technologies.
There will be growing focus around the end-user. Remember, new concepts around IoE and IoT will be making an impact around current business functions. Furthermore, conversations around wearables technologies are creating new kinds of business use-cases for a number of different verticals. In June, Cisco released their Visual Networking Index report which helped paint a clear picture to the truly emerging IoT trend.
- The number of devices connected to IP networks will be nearly twice as high as the global population in 2018. There will be nearly three networked devices per capita by 2018, up from nearly two networked devices per capita in 2013. Accelerated in part by the increase in devices and the capabilities of those devices, IP traffic per capita will reach 17 GB per capita by 2018, up from 7 GB per capita in 2013.
- Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2018. By 2018, wired devices will account for 39 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 61 percent of IPtraffic. In 2013, wired devices accounted for the majority of IP traffic at 56 percent.
Building an environment capable of supporting these kinds of new demands will allow your organization to stay very agile and competitive in the market. Most of all – you’ll be creating an ecosystem focused on the end-user and their productivity. This kind of architecture almost always pays dividends when it comes to helping your business out-compute and out-compete others in the market.