Network managers around the world undoubtedly knew something was up around 10 a.m. Pacific Time Sept. 18, a date Apple users circled on their calendars. Indeed, it took all of 38 minutes for the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) mailing list to light up with messages about traffic spikes, undoubtedly caused by millions of users updating to iOS 7. And yes, it was millions of users, given the installed base of over 600 million iOS devices with a sizeable share of those in North America.
While it's easy to point the finger at Apple or its impatient and ignorant (at least of network limitations) users, this type of event should be a wake-up call for network managers. It's a predictable consequence of the rapid, inexorable shift of software and content distribution from physical media or broadcast signals to the cloud.
Whether it's binge watching "House of Cards," streaming the news during a major incident like the Boston Marathon bombing or checking out a live feed from the Olympics, the age of event-driven network spikes is upon us.
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