Sweating your network assets: When is enough, enough?
The Dimension Data Network Barometer report released this year discovered 91,000 services incidents logged at the Global Service Centres for client networks that they support. Through related data, Dimension Data analysed, compared, interpreted to gauge readiness of today’s networks at accelerating businesses.
Typically servers are amortised over 3 years while network equipment, over 5 years.
One implication of network equipment being used beyond 5 years, of course is speed. Often the older equipment is slower (e.g. 100mbps vs a 1Gbps Switch).
This may limit capacity but it may also limit functions such as video conferencing. As older devices lack the required performance to undertake more complex tasks, they may hinder more advanced technologies from being deployed to enhance workflow and business operations.
Another implication is security. Since an obsolete device is no longer getting software updates, there are no bug fixes or security patches thus subjecting the network to various vulnerabilities.
Besides that, older devices have mostly surpassed the warranty period, and sometimes device manufacturers may not produce hardware or spare parts for end of life devices.
Hence, it will be challenging to replace or recover the devices should the inevitable happens.
Organisations are upgrading their networks when the need for specific new features becomes more pressing. They need to find a balance between cutting back where necessary, but not to the detriment of future business growth or their ability to gain leverage over competitors. Additional functions that businesses will be missing out when they sweat their assets for longer, are:
• On-board Wireless controllers
• Performance based routing
• Integrated WAN optimisation
• Detailed analytics
The report also gave advisory for these organisations to ensure that their networks would be able to support the business with operational support tools and processes.
The starting point for any organisation is visibility: to gain a clear view of the infrastructure by creating and maintaining an accurate inventory of all the networking devices.
Then, understanding each device’s lifecycle status, security vulnerabilities, and future-readiness.
Lastly, define the organisation’s capability and maturity in supporting and maintaining this crucial asset – the network – as the platform for the organisation business.
Dimension Data claims to be able to help its clients achieve this through its comprehensive Technology Lifecycle Management Assessment.
Dimension Data also offers managed services such as the Managed Services for Enterprise Networks (MSEN), through which they are able to provide client with the tools, people and processes to manage their environment.