In the current economic climate, network managers face enormous pressure to optimise performance and reduce costs. There is less capital available but expectations are even higher for IT infrastructure and applications to deliver bottom line business benefits.
Here are some tips that could help you improve network operations without re-inventing the wheel or digging too deeply into diminishing capital resources.
1. Do it smarter
In many cases, network infrastructure has grown in complexity and reach over time without an enormous amount of strategic planning. With little or no new capital available, it may be time to step back from the daily fire-fight, take a good look at what you have and investigate opportunities to conduct operations in a slightly smarter way.
It is an opportune time to gain a better understanding of business and operational priorities at the same time as eliminating inefficiencies and reducing administrative costs. Often you can make quick gains by merely adopting a different approach to configurations and/or human resource allocations.
Taking a holistic view of network operations and thinking laterally will allow you to identify recurring problems, underperforming hardware and applications and process deficiencies. In short you can often find significant cost savings and operational efficiencies without spending any money.
2. Gain visibility
An effective strategic review of network operations starts with being able to see what is happening and ideally what has happened historically. Improving visibility of the network does not have to be expensive or time consuming.
Many routers and network appliances you already own, such as Web caches and WAN optimisers, will have built-in reporting tools that you have perhaps never switched on or fully utilised. So, the first thing to do is to check out what you already have and see if it can help give insight to the functionality of the network and.
Meanwhile, there are a number of free or inexpensive network analyser tools available today. These can be easily deployed to provide a detailed breakdown of your network usage, traffic loads for various applications and bandwidth consumption.
Meaningful trend reports can be garnered from some of these resource utilisation monitoring tools with minimal configuration. There is also the opportunity to integrate this with automated alerts and alarms that will help to eliminate recurring issues before they become bigger problems.
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