Network based systems

How to develop a clear roadmap

Not so long ago, a company asked me to review their IT documentation as they prepared for an audit.

Documentation for systems, hardware, and software was in order, but the network was a hodgepodge of documents that failed to connect the dots. Instead, the story that the network documents revealed about the network was that many changes were made quickly to accommodate another organization that had been acquired and to add a slew of new users in different places.

Often companies find themselves in this situation. They evolve quickly and it is difficult to keep the documentation of the network up to date. More troubling is the failure to develop a clear network roadmap that addresses future network needs, expansion, and security.

How do you develop an effective network roadmap while keeping pace with workloads? Proceed step by step. Developing a network roadmap is an exciting strategic exercise, but the current referral network must first be assessed and understood.

There are many steps in this process. Undertaking these steps while simultaneously managing network health and day-to-day operations can be daunting.

For this reason, it is helpful to break down the building of the network roadmap into a series of systematic steps and to approach each step individually.

Step 1: Review performance and workload goals

What network performance goals need to be met every day for the business? Where are they met and where do they fail? Are your networking goals varied? For example, an organization may have an internal network for employees and an external telemedicine network for doctors and patients. Each is likely to have different performance, throughput, and quality of service (QoS) goals.

By reviewing performance metrics and trends, you can see where the network’s strengths and weaknesses lie as you build the roadmap.

Step 2: Automate documentation

The future of the network is automation.

It should start with what is probably the Achilles heel of most networks: documentation.

Most networking documentation is still largely maintained manually and outdated. Network administrators often find themselves working like CAD engineers, developing network diagrams from scratch, if their day job allows them the time.

One solution is automated network documentation. There are tools on the market that analyze your network and produce their own network diagrams, which you can modify or add notes as needed.

Step 3: Chart the direction of your network monitoring

Everyone wants to upgrade to 5G, boost Wi-Fi, support video on demand, audio, data payloads, and a plethora of devices and platforms, but how do you monitor networks? at this level of sophistication?

The suggested path is network automation, moving from manual network monitoring to automated network monitoring and observability.

Businesses today use a mix of manual and automated monitoring. Network professionals check dashboards and explore problem areas. There is also software monitoring and automation software that scans network entry points for vulnerabilities and security gaps, provides traceability, and performs automated functions such as updating software to the latest versions on all network devices. Some of this software monitors IoT (Internet of Things) edge technologies, issuing alerts when anomalies or network anomalies are detected.

Unfortunately, when network problems are detected, network professionals must dig deeper, determine the root causes so they can resolve them. This is where the next generation of network monitoring comes in, observability.

Step 4: Define your network automation path

If automation is the road to network evolution, what most companies want to do is automate more monitoring elements and move into network observability, where intelligence (AI) can tell you not only that something is wrong, but Why it is wrong. Using observability software, which uses machine learning (ML) to learn the dynamics of your network infrastructure so it has context for troubleshooting issues, can speed up time to resolution. problems, because the observability software not only issues alerts, but also tells you Why alerts can occur based on what he knows and what he has observed. This reduces manual root cause analysis time.

Observability uses network logs to determine when specific problem-related events occurred, who or what caused the problem, and more. from one network node to another.

AI-powered observability can go through a multitude of network alerts, isolating only the ones that matter, as it understands the network’s operational infrastructure. It can suggest the root causes of what is wrong. It’s what speeds time to resolution for network professionals and it’s the future of network automation.

Step 5: Decide what’s next

While most enterprises recognize that full network observability and automation is their future in network monitoring, the key to building the network roadmap will be filling in all the dots between the current position of the network and the end point of what could be the total observability of the network.

It also means that the steps most likely to be taken are incremental advancements in automation and the phasing in of what is likely to be substantial funding needed for network automation tools.

Either way, it’s likely that observability and full automation will be tested incrementally to build trust in the technology and define the touch points for IT staff in newly automated network processes.

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