Computer network
What is Network Lifecycle Management?
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The IT industry is rife with “buzzwords”, and one of the latest and greatest is network lifecycle management. Although it may appear that IT managers simply want an excuse to draw still more flow charts and network diagrams, this buzzword actually makes a great deal of sense in many ways.

What is Network Lifecycle Management? It is a new concept that simply means that a company’s network needs tender love and care from the planning phase all the way through the EOL phase when a new network is installed. And careful lifecycle management means that the length of time before that happens will be extended.

A network lifecycle begins with the conceptual stage. Careful planning as to the customer’s current as well as future needs must be taken into consideration, and scalability must be built in from the start. An assessment of existing infrastructure and needed upgrades is performed at this time.

Installation is the next phase of the lifecycle – and this is followed by a thorough validation of the install to make sure no present or future “gotchas” exist. Any latent point of failure is identified and rectified to make sure the network is robust.

During the operational phase of the network lifecycle, it makes sense to remotely monitor the network for any signs of new problems through services like Cisco’s Smart set of services or Broadsoft’s PacketSmart technology. Proactive network management is far superior to trying to figure out what went wrong after the fact, with irate employees with no Internet, email or phone service asking what is going on.

Any issues discovered during the monitoring phase should be dealt with immediately, so that small problems never escalate into large ones.

If designed properly in the conceptual phase, a network should scale and grow to meet the needs of employees over time by simply adding new wiring and equipment. Equipment upgrades can be performed remotely (in the case of SW upgrades), or by swapping out pieces of equipment for newer models without replacing the entire network.
When the time finally comes and an entirely new network is required to keep pace with technology – proper lifecycle management will make this task painless too!

To make sure your network is managed properly in every phase of its useful life, why not call structured wiring experts? They will create a comprehensive plan for your network that will allow you to gain maximum value from it for the longest time frame possible, making it a cost effective and logical choice. They will carefully assess your unique needs, as the right installer should understand that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to a network.

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Mark Doyle

Mark Doyle is a cables/wires specialist and the founder of “The Wires Blog”: