You need real vision to build an invisible network, says Gilchriest of Agile Networks
11 May 2015 | 0
The network is a commodity — it is just there to get you to the cloud right? Surely most companies are now standardised on a single vendor and the network just works away like any other utility? Can’t you manage the network with off-the-shelf tools as most of it interoperates and is much more reliable than it used be? We live in hope.
In the real world, ‘green field’ networks are quite rare and all networks contain equipment from multiple vendors — and usually several generations of technology. We also find today that comparatively few IT departments have network specialists anymore. ‘Keeping the lights on’ is still a key priority as demanding and knowledgeable end users expect instant access to any application, from any device, in any location.
Increasingly we find customers want a managed network service that keeps an organisation’s network as invisible as possible to users and other IT functions. To achieve this, the first objective is to try and prevent things going wrong. The second is to react, repair and restore normal network functionality as quickly as possible if they do. In fact the only way to build an ‘invisible’ network for everyone else is by having a robust, monitored, proactive network managed service from a specialist provider. That is why Agile Networks recently launched our new service NetCare Plus to meet the very real gap in the marketplace.
The strength of our managed network services comes from three resources: a genuine multivendor platform to view and manage the entire network, skilled engineers at the front line of support to fix problems rapidly and a custom built service to match the exact needs of each client. We have designed and built a platform that adapts so that we can take in all of the functionality from any vendor’s equipment (alerts, logging, configuration management) and incorporate it into our platform for the specific client.
We have introduced a level of automation that allows us to identify problems that occur in the network and provide resolution in a matter of minutes. We have automated the gathering of information from the network devices that allow us to proactively analyse problems even before the end user is aware of it. What makes our service powerful is the multivendor aspect, the result of our knowledge and pedigree in working across all major networking vendors.
In addition to management and proactive maintenance, the service enables us to plan for changes in functionality, scale or traffic types in an intelligent way. This is because the foundation of the service gives genuine visibility across all network devices and provides real-time information to what is happening on the network.
Our managed network services clients currently include online e-business enterprises, government bodies, major event venues and multi-site financial services organisations. These businesses rely on their network working invisibly in the background, while providing for the agility to change rapidly without normal operations being affected. Our visibility of their network allows them to concentrate on the core business functions that make them unique and profitable.
Enda Gilchriest is engineering manager of Agile Networks