Step two of our Six Steps to a Better (more agile) Network Series

Your network is not one homogeneous platform, but rather a complex distributed system with widely varying functional requirements. To get to a better, and cheaper, network we need to break it down into its smaller functional building blocks.

Most enterprise networks are going to have multiple segments such as data center networks, campus networks, branch and office networks, and wide area networks. These segments further break down by geography, access and aggregation, and wired and wireless access, among other common characteristics.

With these smaller, logical pieces we can consider each segment’s unique requirements, and how the segments work together to meet business needs. Each of the smaller blocks contributes to the overall functionality of the network, which affects reliability, security and performance of mission-critical business applications. Now we can align functional requirements with vendor solutions, and more effectively introduce innovative technologies like SD-WAN.

Gartner analysts Danilo Ciscato and Tim Zimmerman in a research note on improving network costs, confirm that, ‘Enterprises making strategic networking investments that don’t map out their requirements often end up with solutions that are overhyped, over engineered and expensive.’ Gartner’s research suggests that adequately aligning network segmentation requirements with vendor solutions, not the other way around, can save as much as 50% on networking equipment costs, including the elimination of unnecessary features, protocols, and specialized appliances.

According to a Network Computing article on the benefits of network segmentation, the benefits go well beyond just the economics. ‘The ability to contain network problems, improve performance, and reduce congestion are all key benefits that come from a well-segmented, well-maintained network.’

Our network transformation framework includes a simple assessment that can help you size up the potential cost savings and performance improvements from an updated network segmentation plan.

Next week we’ll dig into step three on the path to a better network: Take (calculated) risks to foster innovation.