You must ask yourself three important questions when you look at your data requirements are:
How much data do you need to send and how quickly do you need it? Your answer to this question will frame the parameters of the next two questions. Say, for example, you have an inventory system containing 10 million items that are housed in 3 different warehouses and are sold from 500 retail stores across the globe. You might need an accurate listing of the entire inventory available to every one of your retail stores, in real time. On the other hand, you might only send one large accounting file to your main office once a week. The amount of data you need to send shapes your choices for how you will send it.
How many locations are involved in your data transfer? As the number of sites you need to share data with increases, so do your options. You can easily and cost effectively send data between two locations, but the methods you might use in such a scenario become prohibitive if you have more than three locations. The number of locations involved, in addition to the quantity of data you need to send, determines your exact data requirements.
Tip When you answer this question, think not just of your business’s current situation, but also of where your business is heading. If, for example, your business is a mid-size regional company with plans to expand, your data transfer plan must have room to grow.
How much are you willing to pay to make this happen? You can pay as much or as little as you want to transfer your data. Overbudgeting your data transfer network might make everything move very quickly, but it can also be very expensive. Telecom salespeople who aren’t familiar with data applications often quote a wide range of capacity options, hoping to offer one that fits your budget. The problem with this approach is that you can easily end up buying too little bandwidth, simply based on the price. The more money you pay, the more bandwidth you should get. But, do you need all that bandwidth?