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There’s no question that network rationalization can lead to immediate cost savings, simplified management, and improved reliability and performance. Getting rid of complexities, redundancies, and unnecessary networks and equipment that are brought on by years of accumulated technology is a commonsense way to cut back on costs. Additionally, eliminating extra elements of your infrastructure leads to reducing possible points of failure.
Network rationalization allows you to pinpoint the major issues in your network. Using that information, you can make adjustments to generate cost savings, better performance and better user productivity. Even more importantly, you will face fewer major network outages. With the constant influx of new demands—video conferencing, large data backups, etc.—it’s become critical to always make sure your network is up to the task by identifying issues and fixing them.
Business Benefits of Network Rationalization
1. Increased reliability and recoverability: Eliminating network complexity and implementing a testing program will lessen the chance of network outages by identifying problems before they happen. And if the network does go down, problem solving in a high-pressure situation becomes much easier and more effective because the network has been simplified and streamlined through testing and analysis.
2. Lower costs through elimination of unnecessary hardware and software: By removing technologies that are no longer needed, you can eliminate their associated costs in both software and hardware.
3. Reduced power and cooling expenses: Less unnecessary technology and better, more efficient performance means less strain on your servers and other network devices. And that translates to lower energy bills.
Crucial tips to make your Network Rationalization effort a success
1. Remember the purpose of the network. When starting a rationalization or convergence exercise, the most important thing to keep in mind is what really matters: the stuff that lives on the network. Users, Data and/or Applications. Make sure those are at the core of what you’re trying to do by keeping them in mind when planning—the idea should be to connect users, data and applications as effectively as possible. Sometimes it’s a matter of simply interconnecting networks. Other times, disparate networks will need to be entirely merged. Either way, the crucial point is to stay focused on the business and the things that make the business work.
2. Don’t try to please all of your users with your rationalization and testing plan. It’s a common pitfall to want to please everyone; however, there has to be prioritization. Ranking things in terms of business priority is a useful rubric. It’s very possible that there are perceptions among users that don’t necessarily need to be met. By focusing on adding economic value, you can please many key stakeholders in your organization, and even find a chance to let IT shine. Uncover the needs of key players in your business and seek to meet them in your network rationalization plan. It should be a strategic process—not a tactical one.
3. Have a recent and accurate inventory of network equipment and understand how it’s architected. This is absolutely critical. In fact, it’s impossible to complete a network rationalization exercise without this kind of information. If you don’t have the information, the right IT partner can help you document and interpret your inventory and architecture.
4. Prepare your network for resilience with redundancy and testing. Lots of products promise redundancy, but you can’t be sure of your network’s resilience until you test it. So it comes down, again, to testing: literally taking down a device in a controlled manner and seeing how the network reacts. Simply trusting the architecture to do what it’s supposed to is not enough—you have to make sure things will react the way you expect them to.
5. Find the right window of time to put a testing regimen in place. The primary barrier to implementing a testing program is finding the right window of time to test in. Obviously, the network is important and, without it, business stops. So tying the network up for a lengthy testing process can be hard to justify. When speaking with stakeholders and decision makers, be sure to convince them that the investment in testing will pay off with a more stable and high-performance network. And often, the key to alleviating their concerns is to find the least disruptive moment.
6. Start your Network Rationalization exercise with a qualified partner. Network rationalization is an effort that demands to be highly tailored to your organization, which means finding an IT partner that has experience in it, is crucial. The right partner will help make your rationalization project a success—and an easier process.