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What to Consider Before a Network Upgrade

What to Consider Before a Network Upgrade

Now is the time to address growth and complexity by revamping your network infrastructure — here’s how to prepare for an upgrade

December 7, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close—or, perhaps more fittingly, screeches to a halt (look back at some of our biggest stories of 2016 by scrolling to the bottom of this article)—it’s time to start thinking about how to best utilize your network.

This past year saw tremendous growth in devices, data and complexity, as shown by this IBM infographic:*

 

 

According to the data, here are a few key stats to note:

As a result, enterprise networks are feeling the pressure to keep up with these changes through constant upgrades and optimization. And this, in turn, has led to even more obstacles financially (high investments and operational costs), operationally (unpredictable end-user experiences), and in terms of infrastructure (juggling the management of new and legacy networks).

On top of it all, innovation is essential for growth; thus, enterprises must also try to find new ways to foster new revenue through network innovation.*

Luckily, by optimizing existing network components and streamlining infrastructure to an all-in-one network and single technology, enterprises can see dramatic reduction in operational expenses. In addition, this setup lends itself to more innovation and much-desired simplicity.

How to Prepare for a Network Upgrade

It may seem daunting, but upgrading your enterprise network infrastructure is the best way to tackle the constantly-changing future. However, many organizations lack the time or the resources to perform this much-needed upgrade.

If you’re considering an upgrade to equip your enterprise with a best-in-class network infrastructure, consider Cannon Group: our experts use a series of best practices to perform network/technology upgrades that will:†

  • Meet all organizational requirements
  • Benefit from top-to-bottom project management
  • Determine user impact before, during and after the upgrade process
  • Implement changes with very little business impact
  • Guarantee the upgrade can be properly supported once in production

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Based on these time-tested Cannon Group processes, here are a few best practices for planning a network upgrade:

Plan ahead for future needs

That includes capacity planning for needs that may arise in the near and distant future. Take the time to compile and analyze network usage metrics. This data, along with an accurate baseline, is essential for predicting future growth to ensure that today’s upgrade will continue to benefit the enterprise tomorrow (or, preferably, for years). Important things to incorporate into your plan: security measures (see Don’t Overlook Enterprise Security, Here’s How Network Teams are Handling Enterprise Security and Fortify Your Security in 6 Steps), as well as support staff for continued network maintenance and optimization.

Keep end users informed

Ensuring that end users are in the loop for this upgrade is essential and will take effort—namely when it comes to understanding how specific end users access and leverage the network. This information will then help explain to these end users what to expect and how this upgrade will impact them.

Establish a concrete strategy for the network rollout (and possible back-out scenario)

Our experts are adept at creating rollout strategies that manage optimal deployment speed with possible network risks. Acknowledging various key points and milestones in the implementation can help to gauge progress, or determine whether to execute your back-out plan. This back-out plan may never be used, but it’s essential in the event that something goes wrong during the network upgrade.

Maintain up-to-date records

According to NetworkComputing.com: “The step that is most often skipped over – yet is absolutely critical to the success of a network — is to thoroughly document the upgrade, how the new technology works, and how to maintain it once it’s in production. Documentation should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. A network upgrade that includes detailed documentation is far more likely to be considered successful when support staffers have information they can refer to for help.”†

 


 

As promised, here are some of our biggest stories of 2016:

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* Network transformation—enabling innovation and speed with infrastructure agilityIBM.com. IBM Corporation. † Froehlich, Andrew. 7 Tips For Upgrading Your NetworkNetwork Computing. UBM.