Network administrators have their work cut out for them. With the entire world now more wired than ever, the need to manage an ever increasing stream of data has become a paramount business concern. When setting out to build their IT infrastructure, many businesses only envision the end result. With so many eyes on the final goal, it can be easy to miss some of the more fundamental needs that every good network is built upon. Skimping out or neglecting to institute them could have wide-ranging repercussions later on for the life of your network and the quality of its service. Here are four commonly overlooked needs you can watch out for.
Keep things simple and manageable
A good network will be complicated enough by its very nature. There is no need to make it even more complex at the start by using lots of proprietary systems and overly specialized hardware. Not only can this be incredibly expensive, but it also opens up the possibility that support will be hard to find later on. If your network requires years of accumulated knowledge to manage a few niche components, it may be hard to maintain them over an extended period. Stick to common standards and open technology whenever possible. An overly complex network at the start will only get worse as time goes on.
As server technology incorporated many of the power saving features found in notebooks and tablets, this caused a shift in how servers and network hardware behave under different circumstances. What was once a fairly level rate of power consumption can now fluctuate wildly based on the activity of the network. With frequent power spikes comes a bevy of nasty consequences: blown fuses, overheating, and compromises in backup power sources that suddenly shift to a different feed. Mitigating this issue requires implementing separate power branches that feed each server, reducing the risk of a single overload placing an extreme burden on your backup feeds. Designing an acceptable power plan, complete with defined ranges and actionable thresholds, would also help your network remain resilient.
Fiber optic cabling installation
With all eyes towards server hardware and network performance, it may be easy to overlook one of the simplest parts of the network: cabling. The virtual web that will power your business needs a physical web to operate, and many times cabling is seen as unimportant unless it causes someone to trip and fall. With the advent of fiber optics, more attention should be paid to the wiring of your network spaces and the efficiency of the cables connecting hardware. Fiber optics transmit information using pulses of light, and are the best means of sending data over a wire. A network wired together with a fiber optic solution will run more efficiently, be less prone to failure, and maximize speeds.
Once a network is up and running, it should be under constant review to check for areas where it can improve. Usage of application analysis software allows IT managers to see how data is flowing across different parts of their network, making adjustments and suggesting changes based on bottlenecks or problem areas. A suite of network tools able to spot network deficiencies could be just as valuable as making the right choices with the hardware of the network itself.
A modern IT network may be one of the most complex structures a business will ever build. It is a scary thought that something so crucial can also be so complex and fragile. With a little planning and smart choices early on, however, your network can turn into one of the biggest drivers for the entire business.