A little more than a decade ago, the Internet was dubbed the Information Superhighway.
It was seen as a way to distribute information faster and more efficiently than
While that's still true in principle, in practice the term "superhighway"
turned out to be more prophetic than most realized. Because just like the roads
and highways in most urban areas, where urban planners never anticipated the
volume of traffic those roads must now support, the high speeds and easy cruises
on the Internet have given way to massive traffic jams that can bring operations
to a grinding halt at certain times of day.
The primary driver of this traffic jam is the explosion of video on the Internet.
Its exponentially larger file sizes and bandwidth requirements are straining
every artery of the infrastructure, challenging organizations to meet the ever-growing
demand. And more is being added every day at a rate of 33 minutes of video per
Complicating the situation, however, are issues surrounding how video is managed.
Having multiple copies of the same file in multiple locations, whether the video
is for internal or external consumption, uses up even more storage -- the equivalent
of taking every car on the road and duplicating it multiple times. It also makes
version control nearly impossible as someone has to remember the location of
each file and update it when a new one becomes available or remove it when it
expires. Backing up multiple copies of the same file further adds to storage
and version problems.
To understand how we arrived at this point -- and more importantly what to
do about it -- it helps to look at the underlying factors that led up to it.
The game changer
During the tech bubble, conventional wisdom was that bandwidth was abundant,
and there was more unused than used capacity. What changed all that? Quite simply,
it is the explosive use of video.
According to the U.S. Internet Industry Association, video currently consumes
nearly 80 percent of all bandwidth. And that number is expected to expand for
the foreseeable future as marketing and creative teams do more to take advantage
of the nuances and emotional connection that written words on static Web sites
simply can't match.