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Network Nonsense

Why do all IT professionals lavish much care, attention and expense on their servers and storage devices as possible, but sometimes forget about the network equipment that controls the traffic? Networks are notorious for being security risks, but quite often the hardware stability can get overlooked when it comes to the quality of the equipment being used.

Also there seems to be a reluctance to patch systems in a tidy way, “spaghetti” seems to be the accepted practice as long as it works. Different coloured leads plugged into any port as long as the staff can gain the correct connectivity seems acceptable.

What must be remembered is that the network switch plays an integral part in most modern Ethernet Local Area Networks (LANs) yet they are not always given the attention that they require

We have seen communication rooms with the most state of the art cooling and UPS systems but with the oldest and dustiest switches imaginable.

It’s all great until one of those 5 year old switches fails and you have at least 12 staff literally sitting twiddling their thumbs and probably disrupting another 12 people whilst complaining about their plight. Worst case scenario the switch handles the IP telephony system and you can’t receive or make any telephone calls which could cripple your business.

Do you have a spare switch sat on site waiting to be installed that you know works, or are you going to be left reaching for the faulty ones predecessor that is in a filing cabinet somewhere? Can you actually release the failed switch from the rack or is the “spaghetti” of patch cables preventing access without more potential disconnections?

At Mitchell’s we have had many years of looking after networks for our clients and have been in on Sundays and Bank Holidays changing faulty switches out so that all is well when business starts again in earnest the following day.

We can advise you on how to make the network that the business relies upon as resilient as it can be without breaking the bank. We patch cabinets using colour coded leads and label them so you know which one to pull out if there are problems making changing a network switch as straight forward as it can be.

Some clients prefer the belt and braces approach with 100% resilience, spare network switches and a complete service contract. All very good, but there are as many companies (if not more) who have made absolutely no provision for a network failure, and just keep their fingers crossed!

If you are in the latter category you should ask yourself the question “what would happen if this switch failed”. How long would it be before it could be replaced, how many people would its failure effect or more importantly which aspects of the business would be affected by its failure.

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