Company Intranets and their connections to The Internet are getting
more complex as companies strive for the best service for their
employees and to provide
the best image to their customers who access them over the net. This causes
many companies to have occasional need for some advanced network
expertise, but not a continuous need sufficient for a full-time
employee. We can fill this need and supply the experience needed to
select appropriate points in the extremely large galaxy of potential
Examples of when such expertise might be called on:
Specific servicesThese are some of the specific services available. Most contracts actually involve a synthesis of several of these, along with other, more esoteric, activities.
Robust multi-homing designA lot of companies are getting multiple connections to different ISPs to provide for better connectivity. However, most companies don't have a BGP expert and this can often lead to overlooking various options and efficiencies that could be exploited. Even when one or more of the ISPs involved offer some help in configuring the connectivity, they are only experts in their own network and do not have the time or incentive to investigate the options available from the other ISPs involved.
Without experience, there are a lot of pitfalls with these setups. A slight error in configuring backup paths can lead to their being insufficient when they are needed. Other errors can result in your corporate network connection carrying traffic between the two ISPs to which you are connected, traffic that has nothing to do with your company. With an experienced hand to help guide your own network staff, you can get more value from your multiple providers.
Transition plans for "zero down-time" network changesWe 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 providers. All of these can be done with no externally visible outage.
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. We 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 company.
Purchasing decision supportSelecting the right Internet Provider(s) can be a bet-the-company decision. As a report from Data Communications Magazine points out, there are lots of pitfalls that an Internet Provider can fall in, and you want to make sure you don't choose a provider that will drag your company into the pit with them.
This is a complex decision requiring detailed analysis of both your business needs and the technical details of the candidate providers network. While your company presumably has a very good handle on the former, it normally has no need of expertise in the later, except during the process of making the purchase decision. Relying on the provider's information can be extremely misleading. An independent analysis is needed.
Distributed OfficesConnecting the Corporate headquarters to branch offices using The Internet rather than leasing long distance phone circuits can be quite cost effective. However, doing this reliably and securely involves extensive analysis of the ISPs involved and the company's requirements for access and privacy.
Routing architectureThere are many aspects that go into designing an overall network connectivity plan and routing architecture. You need to consider:
We can provide an analysis of your existing network routing as well as your requirements and design an architecture to provide the maximum reliability, flexibility, and growth. By working with your engineering staff, we can produce a comprehensive network design / routing architecture document that can be used and maintained to keep future decisions consistent and to better plan the growth of the network. This will improve the productivity of your engineering staff, without requiring them to expend the time to document it.
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. We have experience setting up many of the freeware packages that can do this, and customizing them to a particular network. We can help you choose the one that best suits your needs and then help install it and configure it for your 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 utilizationThese days, address space allocation, renumbering, and CIDR aggregation are important to the ability of a network to grow. We have extensive experience in all these areas.
Since addresses are allocated according to RFC2050 in most cases, a good allocation strategy can help you reach your goals with more margin, giving you more lead time to get a new allocation in.
DNSComplete DNS setup and integration with other services (DHCP, address assignment database, authentication services).
Staff TrainingI can provide training for your corporate 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:
There are two types of people in this world, and one of them can extrapolate from incomplete data.