Content provider services, web server farms and others, have a
specific area of expertise is providing the servers and the content.
However, they have demands from time to time for expert network
engineering, either just to get the most out of the network they have,
or to design an innovative network plan for a specific robustness,
reliability, or performance goal. Usually, they cannot afford to have
a full-time staff member who has advanced expertise in these areas,
since they only need this a few hours a month, yet, when they need it,
they need the advanced levels of engineering that only a full-time
engineer can maintain. For these situations, MAP Network Engineering is
positioned to provide this engineering.
Even when a content provider has its own network engineering staff,
these engineers can be fully committed to
normal operations and planning for the future is put off until action
is needed, at which point it's too late to put together a coordinated
plan. This leads to a hurried design and deployment of these
expansions, which often results in a design which works under normal
circumstances, but has bad failure modes, and may be more fragile and
fail more often. Additionally, networks that have grown through
several of these rushed expansions, often become harder and harder to
expand as the combinatoric interactions accumulate. Sometimes just
measuring how close to the limit, and thus the time for action, a
network is would help in avoiding these problems.
Specific servicesThese are descriptions of some of the areas that can be addressed, but this list is not exhaustive.
RoutingWe can provide a full range of routing assistance. From simple router configurations, including BGP multi-homing, import/export rules, etc.; to complete routing architecture design and network planning services. There is no need for the people working on the content pages and/or server systems to learn all the details of these, MAP Network Engineering can provide turnkey configuration services.
Robust multi-homing designAs your service get connections to multiple providers for better connectivity, the complexity of the routing goes up enormously. It is difficult to get all the details right: proper fall back, effective filters, aggregation rules, etc. Frequently getting these wrong can make the network less reliable, which in the worst case can cause the company to fail.
The best way to get this right, is with the experience of having done it before. The best way to get the experience is by working with someone who knows what they're doing. I have lots of experience in setting up complex routing for global networks, and also in mentoring others in the intricacies of dynamic routing.
Transition plans for "zero down-time" network changesI have a lot of experience designing transition strategies that exhibit "zero down-time" to users. Renumber your web servers. Move mail servers from one location to another. Change DNS servers. Switch transit providers.
The Internet is global, there is no longer any "unused" time in which to take systems off the air for reorganization. With careful planning, however, it is usually possible to arrange a transition with no (or negligible) visible impact on users. I can design a spectrum of strategies for any transition with analysis of the costs and benefits of each option, and then guide you in choosing the tradeoff that is best for your customers.
Measurement and analysisMeasurement of current usage with trend analysis and projections of future capacity requirements can be a vital resource for network planning purposes. But at many companies, the network staff can be too busy (or too small) to put in the time to evaluate and set up the various packages. I have experience setting up many of the freeware packages that can do this, and customizing them to a particular network.
Migration and expansion strategies for maximum flexibilityNetwork engineers are often so overloaded with day-to-day issues that it becomes hard to make time to step back and look at the next migration/expansion step and design it fully. This often leads to plans which don't cover all contingencies, and can lead to the need for on-the-fly corrections, which is the source of many later problems. By carefully planning ahead, you can save much more in lowered maintenance costs.
Address space utilization plansThese days, address space allocation, renumbering, and CIDR aggregation are important to the ability of a network to grow. I have extensive experience in all these areas. Defining your address plan early and adjusting it as your network grows can help avoid excessive requirements to renumber and give you a better margin on additional allocations.
Since addresses are allocated according to RFC2050 in most cases, a good allocation strategy can help you reach the goals with more margin, giving you more lead time to get a new allocation in.
Staff trainingI can provide training for your network operations and engineering staff, either train existing staff in new technologies being brought in, or to train new staff to keep from distracting your (probably overloaded) existing staff with this added task.
Especially useful is the combination of providing some engineering design from above and concluding with a complete, customized training series on the results. This will get your staff up to speed on the new setup as quickly as possible to allow them to maintain and extend it.
For more on the available training options, see the separate page with more details.
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And finally, a random note:
I pride myself in being "normal" only when I stand up, and then only in the geometric sense.