Will the real Medianet please stand up!

By Scott Perry, Solutions Architect

In the late 90’s I had the privilege of working on a small team to deploy the Cisco network at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus.  This was a huge project at the time and it was a great way for me to gain hands-on experience in an extremely busy and fast-paced environment.  I remember a time during the second year of the project when the team had to cut over the network equipment in the Emergency Room.  If you have ever watched the show ER you could understand what the environment was like.  As the hour approached to switch over to the new equipment you could hear a pin drop amongst a world that seemed so chaotic.  The months of preparation had finally brought us to this point and there was no turning back, all of the “I’s” were dotted and the “T’s” were crossed.  There was just that one last thing hanging over our heads!  We didn’t know how the network that was so tediously built would survive in the world of the ER.  The approach to this question back then was to simply put the network to the test and see if it would stand!  Scary if you think about doing that today.

Fast-forward 12 years and this is exactly what the real world of IT faces.   As the consumerization of IT happens before our eyes and the BYOD invasion begins, the doubts and uncertainties start to take over the minds of our IT managers and directors.  Most are not even aware of what’s happening and going on around them when it comes to how BYOD (and along with that the demand for video) changes the game.  There are staggering statistics that show how video will become 90 percent of internet traffic by 2014.  How do the networks of the past continue to perform to the new demands and challenges of an extremely mobile and video-intense world?  They don’t!  The old intranet architecture and topology will begin to break down and no longer support the user experience.  We see networks crumbling because of the lack of ability to provide real-time services to applications and devices.  For example what happens when a high definition video camera gets plugged into the system?  What about 50 new HD video endpoints?  Or how do we guarantee that the user experience is the same day after day?

This is where Medianet comes into play!  Medianet is a network architecture that is built to handle the ever-changing world of IT.  If the network truly is the platform for IT services then it shouldn’t matter what widgets and gadgets are plugged into the network on any given day.  Medianet takes a whole new approach to the way a network is designed and provisioned.  It uses a number of auto-configuration tools and network analysis utilities to make sure the network is provisioned correctly.  It also allows for better use of corporate resources and provides a way to better maintain security within the network (which is where most of those doubts and uncertainties come from, if we’re being honest).  Cisco has begun building endpoint devices and network infrastructure devices such as switches and routers that use the Media Services Interface.  Devices are becoming network aware and networks are becoming device aware.  The future of the network is collaboration, so it’s best to prepare now with an infrastructure that will support and scale for the new way that people expect to work. Force 3’s Medianet Readiness Assessment helps customers take advantage of these new tool sets and resources to aid in building a more robust infrastructure to help launch networks into the 21stcentury.

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