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Pumping up the network for enterprise applications

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June/July 1999

Pumping up the network for enterprise applications

The issue: wide-scale deployment of enterprise applications overwhelms existing networks, with a period at the end.

by Lance Travis

Companies are using the local network and wide-area links to stretch multitier Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications to more users in remote offices and factories. And the network strain doesn’t stop at ERP. Firms are also throwing e-commerce and employee self-service applications such as Human Resources (HR) into the mix. When deploying applications, users are careful to consider their server capacity requirements and receive capacity planning help from the server and ERP vendors. Unfortunately, network capacity considerations do not get the same attention, nor is it obvious where to go for help.

Improved backbone technologies, such as low-cost Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switches and Gigabit Ethernet switches in the Local Area Network (LAN) and Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) for connecting remote users to the Internet, offer significant increases in network bandwidth. However, tuning the network involves more than just increasing the bandwidth. New networking products can optimize and manage network traffic and server access based on application type and content.

But doing so requires an understanding of new networking products, the type of network traffic generated by deployed applications, and usage patterns. Unfortunately, enterprise applications differ significantly in their network usage, and a rapidly expanding set of vendors offer networking products with a confusing array of features. Also, application and networking vendors lack integrated tools or services to help users determine network capacity requirements.

Founded in 1986, Boston-based AMR Research Inc. is the pre-eminent industry and market analysis firm specializing in enterprise applications and related trends and technologies. Tracking more than 400 leading software and service providers, AMR Research helps Global 1000 companies evaluate, select, and manage new systems for every part of the enterprise, including logistics and supply-chain management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Manufacturing Execution Systems, and electronic/Internet commerce. For more information, click here.

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